25 Sep 2006

the lesson of the five obstructions


although i promissed not to discuss movies on this blog anymore, i cannot help but recommend one which i considered to be brilliant. plus, it's not actually a movie, it is in fact a documentary, so...

the documentary is called "The five obstructions" and is developed, rather than directed, by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. The idea behind belongs to Lars von Trier, who invites Jorgen Leth to "recreate" one of the shorts the latter directed in 1967 - "The perfect human" - taking into account different sets of obstructions. The entire process, as well as Jorgen's results and the dialogues between the two are one of most interesting and engaging demonstrations of exploring and unlocking creativity i've ever come in contact with. The obstructions - whose nature varies from technical restrictions and emotional involvements to total freedom, minimal control and the demand for the short to be presented as a cartoon - prove to be fantastic tools for setting the old master's creativity on fire, and the result is an amazing shift in the execution of the same film. Cause in fact, no matter how restrictive or difficult the obstructions appear to be, Jorgen manages to find inspiration in every single detail and turn it into his favour (actually, at one point, Lars von Trier actually tells Jorgen something like: "you're so smart, that you find inspiration in everything i say, no matter how bad it is"). An intriguing perspective on play, challenge, perfection (my particular favourite was "how does the perfect human fail?"), inspiration, creativity and intelligence, directing, technique and many more i'd deeply reccomend. Especially to those who are growing more and more tired of Hollywood stereotypes and more and more interested in alternatives such as Dogme95.

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