The Five Obstructions

In Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructions, he creates a documentary about the creation of art, specifically in the medium of film. My instant reaction to this film was that it was unlike the documentaries that I have watched before. This film continues the continuous theme in the films that I have watched in COM 115.5, wherein the European directors really digress from the standards that Hollywood in general has put in movies. The main difference that I noticed in this film, in contrast to more accustomed documentaries, is that it does not tackle a big social issue. The movie itself feels very small and contained to the goals that von Trier wanted to get out of Jorgen, the director of the original film he wants to be remade. My initial reaction was that the film felt minuscule because I was accustomed to documentary films having something to say in a social context. This film felt like a film fan, von Trier, being able to interact in the real world with his film idol, Jorgen.

It was interesting to see the different interpretations of Jorgen’s original film that von Trier gets out of Jorgen. It showcases different perspectives of how the film could have been made, under the stipulations von Trier made. This was a highlight for me because it showcases the quality of art that does not limit it to a particular style. It makes you appreciate the art mor and in this case, the original film because the different variations changed it but still had the essence of what Jorgen made.

I did feel that the film was quite dragging because I am not well aware of Jorgen’s original film so remaking it in different styles did not really encourage me to enjoy the movie. One factor is that it had a lot of conversations between Lars and Jorgen and then it goes to the finished product. I would have been more interested in Jorgen’s new process in remaking his film in the different styles. Although the film showed a few glimpses of behind the scenes filmmaking that Jorgen did, it was more focused on the dialogue between LArs and Jorgen and the finished film.

I also felt that the films that they were producing was to avant garde for me that I end up not getting what the point of the “The Perfect Human” is and it detaches me from the film. It also didn’t help that they were easily bouncing off to a new obstruction so I don’t have enough time to process the previous variations of the film. Although they were beautiful to look at I was not able to connect with the end goal of Lars and Jorgen.

I did like the back and forth between Lars and Jorgen because  it was the comic relief in the film that was full of artistic pretentious acts. I wished that the film either focused more on the relationship of student and teacher, between the two filmmakers, or the filmmaking process of the remake. This would have kept me engaged in the film, but the the film that I saw was interesting but just really hard to connect with.

Enrico R. Barruela COM 115.5

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