The film, The Five Obstructions, is a battle of wits between the Danish director of the film, Lars von Trier, and his mentor, Jorgen Leth. At the start of the film, it was established that Jorgen Leth created a 12-minute film which he entitled, “The Perfect Human”. It goes on and on explaining what a perfect human looks and acts like. In “The Five Obstructions”, he calls on the 67-year-old Jorgen Leth and asks him to create a newer version of the film in five different ways. Lars von Trier will be giving him five obstructions which Jorgen Leth has to work his way around at in making the five versions.
It is simply odd and ironic to see humans watch and see how it is to be a perfect human, especially since we perfect is always deemed to be an impossible but feat. But, as we watch and look into “The Five Obstructions” we are given a sneak peek into the curtains of how unique and eye-catching the mind is and how it works. Within each obstruction between each film, they present a series of rules, that may seem different from each other, but begins to tell us deeper and more substantial messages. We begin to realize that these obstruction that von Trier has established, at the start, are not necessarily his own limitations and compositions of how he wants the films to look like. Instead, it becomes clear to us that the obstructions are always open to interpretation by Jorgen Leth himself, and he finds his way to surpass these obstructions. From the first obstruction with the 12 frames to the last obstruction, we definitely see how Jorgen Leth makes a masterpiece upon each masterpiece with so much. With just a few limitations dictated by von Trier, he dos an amazing job to think beyond the obstacles and still create a work of art despite the limitations. It just goes to show that life will always try to throw stuff at you, but it’s up to you whether to give up or to do something about it. Leth expressed his utmost creativity in all of his films.
It is not just a film that talks about the journey and process of making a film. It is not even about the tedious process of filmmaking. Instead, it manifests a basic truth about the idea of creating something that presents something autonomous. When we create something out of nothing, we realize and discover ourselves, and that it never poses as a difficulty nor a nuisance to us. The more work we put into our output, the more fixated and focused we become in our creations, and this is what results in a better and more substantial version of ourselves as individuals.
“The Five Obstructions” does not just talk about the perfect human. The five obstructions that are sewn into each film tell us that there is no perfect human. That we all have obstructions, we all have our own insecurities, limitations and impediments. And, this is what makes us human.