Let the Games Begin

The Five Obstructions is somewhat a documentary film about two directors Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth, where Leth has to create five obstructions to von Trier’s “favorite” film. Von Trier orders around Leth to do five obstructions of the film “The Perfect Human” which was directed by him as well. The Perfect Human was a 13 minute film that showed what a “perfect human being” was, where they moved in a boundless, abyss-like room. 

The first obstruction was to recreate the film in Cuba, with no less than twelve frames. He hired two actors to play the scenes and thus it was created. This one, he completes with no problem. It was a good few shots and the von Trier was no short of pleased with the film that was created. 

The second obstruction was to recreate the film in the “worst place in the world” with Leth playing the man in the film. He recreates this in the streets of Mumbai with a white screen behind him he was ready to go. Although, von Trier was not pleased with this film. He saw that Leth didn’t follow his exact specifications thus making this a failure. During this time (the showing of the film), the audience can see how displeased von Trier was with the creation. He somehow scolded Leth with his creation. I found this eerie as Leth was so much older than von Trier. He was a senior by nature. It was weird how someone younger was reprimanding Leth. 

Since von Trier was disappointed with the second obstruction, he gave Leth the choice to pick tthe third obstruction. Either to go back to India and do it again, or make a free-style film with his own style and no direction at all. Leth chooses the later and shoots in Brussels. Von Trier was once again pleased with the film and moves on to the next obstruction. 

The fourth obstruction, my personal favorite, was to remake the film into a cartoon. It was interesing at is was beautiful. The digital art work reminded me of “Archie’s Final Project”. They felt so the same, not in terms of story-line but in the was the graphics were maintained. He does so with the help of Bob Sabiston. It came out to be an animated film but nonetheless was still beautifully crafted.  

Lastly, the fifth obstruction was von Trier’s own version of “The Perfect Human”. This was to be credited and voiced by Leth, but was manufactured and written by von Trier. This was to encapsulate the entire project.

I felt as though the film was outrageous. It was a series of experimental short films put into one film. It was great but at the same time confusing. Like I said in the earlier paragraph, von Trier was obviously so much younger than Leth which played a big role in my being confused. If he was the senior why was he being ordered around like a little child and why did he allow himself to be ordered around so? I felt like throughout the film von Trier was making fun or was playing around with Leth. Which is why, I picked the title “Let the Games Begin” because I felt like the entire film was a game, playing with Leth’s head and skills. 

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