The Five Obstructions [to perfection]

Documented to feel like episodes, “The Five Obstructions” took the experience of watching films to an almost cathartic level. Albeit a documentary film, the movie has shown an evident experimentation with the way it was created and to be consumed. Jorgen Leth was posed with challenging obstructions given by Lars von Trier. As a viewer, I did not know where the film was leading. At first it seemed like an endless cycle of von Trier giving obstructions, Leth creating an above average  version of his original work—seemingly to the disappointment of von Trier. I knew von Trier had some goal in kind in pushing Leth to his limits, as was indicated per episode. I, however, didn’t expect that this was going to be more than just filmmaking and that the film would affect me this much. I was rattled, abruptly snapped out of my immersion into the length of the film. As von Trier revealed through a phone call that his challenges were for Leth to realize it’s fine to not always make a perfect, flawless version of his work, I realized that this is true for all of us. I found myself empathizing with Leth in his difficulty because I too, often crave perfection. “The Five Obstructions” was a fresh offering as it not only broke the conventional way of making film, it also had an element of unpredictability to it since it is up to Leth to decide how the narrative will be wrapped up. It takes patience to watch such films but since it was filmed as if from a spectator point of view, it is inevitable to find interesting points and angles to talk about. 

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