The Five Obstructions


Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: Lars von Trier has a bizarre way of showing his regard for mentor Jørgen Leth whose 1967 short film The Perfect Human, he claims to have seen 20 times. Von Trier challenges Leth to remake the film following an increasingly difficult set of obstructions.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. This movie equivalent of Robert Rauschenberg's artwork "Erased de Kooning" is funny, ornery, and ultimately inspiring.
  2. 100
    A complete original. This ingenious, almost indescribable film won't remind you of anything else because there's nothing else like it.
  3. 89
    Riveting, and frankly it's great fun to see Leth best the smirky von Trier five times running.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Even those who dismiss Von Trier as a talented sadist might reconsider after seeing this revealing and ultimately poignant documentary -- and the funny thing is, on the surface it's not even about him.
  5. 75
    Part of what hooks you to this movie is how Leth outsmarts his taskmaster, and how the two men have divergent, almost incompatible aesthetic ideals.
  6. It all feels like a performance for the camera: von Trier as madman producer taunting the elder filmmaker.
  7. In short, it's amusing only if you agree not to think very much about it.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. ChadS.
    Nov 9, 2005
    Mikheil Kalatozishvili's "Soy Cuba"(American title: "I am Cuba) used a traditional editing style to convey its communist ideology which Mikheil Kalatozishvili's "Soy Cuba"(American title: "I am Cuba) used a traditional editing style to convey its communist ideology which sort of undermined their intent to be oppositional to first-world cinema. In Jorgen Leth's first film(set in Cuba), cineasts wake up because the two Danes make a correction on the 1964 classic by applying a Vertovian(Dziga Vertov) approach to editing(eyeblinks) that would've been helped strenghten its pro-Castro stance. "The Five Obstructions" is dazzling, sometimes infuriating. Jorgen Leth proclaims that all animated films are uninteresting, which would seem to infer that his own stab at a cartoon is better than "Fantasia", "Princess Mononoke", and Richard Linklater's "Waking Life", whom Leth owes a nod to. That said, the animated short is great; the Calcutta film, likewise, which Von Trier hillariously slams. Hillarious, because the author of the Dogma manifesto ignores his own obstructions(mainly the tenet which states that there be no genre) when he made "Dancer in the Dark". "The Five Obstructions", like Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation", finds a new way to document real life. Expand
  2. CarlB.
    Jan 3, 2009
    The concept behind the film is interesting, but the film itself is boring.

See all 3 User Reviews