The Five Obstructions: Film as a Form of Art

Image result for five obstructionsMovies usually work in different ways, each having their own structures, narratives, and variations from the usual practices. This can be seen in the first three movies that we watched, as each film had something new to bring despite being released in a span of just a few years. Our latest film, The Five Obstructions, by Lars von Trier, was also completely different as it deviates from the usual film structure.

The Five Obstructions was sort of like a documentary, with how the shots were filmed and how it was constructed but it was also sort of like an anthology in the sense that different variations of the same film were shown, each having a different twist to it. It serves as a post script for Jørgen Leth’s “The Perfect Human,” released in 1967, as the film revolves around the challenges given by Jørgen Leth to Lars von Trier in reconstructing what he deemed as a masterpiece and a perfect film.

The film was a bit confusing for me because of how the shots were made and how the transitions were done. It was made of different variations of the same film and behind the scenes shots, which included the thoughts of the directors, the discussions about the film, and processes that they went through. The Five Obstructions allowed the viewers to see the process of the film-making to the end product through the perspective of the directors. It included the exchange of thoughts and arguments that unwinded how the finished versions came about.

After watching the movie, I appreciated the love that they showed for what they do and how Lars von Trier was willing to step out of his comfort zone just to give respect and recreate The Perfect Human, despite the difficulties that he encountered. One of the things that I think could have made the viewing experience better was highlighting The Perfect Human first, since it was the basis of the recreations and I personally have never heard of it before. I also think that the film could have been more enjoyable if we watched The Perfect Human prior to it without the thoughts of the directors. There were also parts that were too slow and dragging, especially some of the conversations that were shown.

The visuals used in the movie definitely caught my attention and left me intrigued as to why Lars Von Trier kept going despite the difficulties that he had to endure. One of the things that I realized was how the film focuses on their love for film-making. Given the challenges proposed by Jørgen Leth, it allowed him and the viewers to see the different perspectives of how the film could have been made. In this way, they are able to portray film as a form of art. When it comes to art, there are no limitations, given the limitless ways that The Perfect Human could have been remade. There are also different interpretations to art, represented by the recreations of Lars von Trier, which also give viewers a better appreciation of the film.

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