The Five Obstructions

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (Dogville) persuades veteran director and old friend Jorgen Leth to shoot five different remakes of his 14-minute film The Perfect Human (1968), each governed by a set of highly restrictive rules: the first must be limited to 12 frames a shot; the second has to be filmed in the worst place on earth (which turns out to be Bombay); the fourth must be animated (the best of the bunch, incidentally, employing some of the artists who created Waking Life); and so on. All of the remakes are shown complete, but we see the original only in snatches. An ersatz experimental film and an ersatz documentary, this is too frivolous to explore any of its ideas. But it’s never dull, enhanced as well as limited by von Trier’s signature sadism, which is softer here than in his fiction films. 90 min. (JR)

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