The Five Obstructions, responce and thoughts

Response and thoughts to the Five obstructions



This is a response to a film we were introduced to called The Five Obstructions by Lars Von Trier and Jorgen Leth. It revolves around and in its way responds to another film called “The perfect human” in it which is by Jorgen Leth.

The five obstructions is basically where a student tests his master. Von Trier is testing his previous tutor Leth by getting him to remake his film. Von Trier wants to make it a challenge for Leth so he uses obstructions and after each successful attempt, of which there are five, Von Trier sets harder more complicated obstructions.

For me this piece  confirmed a prior feeling that restrictions can be helpful and inspire creativity. It also struck me that this piece highlights Leths previous disconnection from particular issues. You can visually seen Leth discomfort in the second obstruction when his is asked to put himself in a position he does not feel comfortable in. Watching more of the five obstructions made me think more about challenging myself in the work I attempt.

Having to revisit something that is considered a masterpiece must have been difficult for Leth but also exciting to have boundaries that could be used as opportunities. This piece has inspired me to re-look at some of the ideas I have been thinking over during the summer.

I enjoyed the surrealist nature of each obstruction especially the first as the short bursts of visual information linked with the sound are like taking tiny bites of different canapaeys and going back and forth from the different trays. Using different editing techniques does not mean you lose out on any of the quality and using the same section of film over and over gives the feeling this action, movement, sound is important, like its saying take another look.

The fourth obstruction is very different to the first not only because it is animated. one thing I have noticed is that Leth uses more than just the basic obstruction to his advantage but he also take from the culture of part fo the obstruction, for example in obstruction one when he has to shoot in cuba he uses the idea of a cigar and the sound and motion of that object, he uses music I would associate with cuba to. In the fourth obstruction he uses the comic book idea for the layout of a few of the frames.

I like the idea of using obstructions to challenge yourself , it gives you the opportunity to experiment with your own ideas and takes on certain things. I do wonder though, is it better that you choose the obstructions or someone else totally outside of the concept or someone closely linked to you? Von Trier and Leth were student and tutor. ANother question is do we head for commercial success or artistic with our own projects? Do we do enough to get the marks but not enough to get the job or do we do enough to get the job and not the marks?? What I mean by this is we should be thinking what areas of the world we want to work in and should we be tailoring our efforts in these directions?


0 Responses to “The Five Obstructions, responce and thoughts”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Blog Archives


  • Comments on my current blog posts would be brillaint as I'd love some feed back and feel seriously lacking in it!! 9 years ago
  • Navigating Worpress, advice greatfully recieved! 9 years ago
  • Wondering if Cubism has been used in installations not just paintings? 9 years ago
  • I am looking for the plus size model Charlotte Coyle wondering if she is out there? 9 years ago

Flickr Photos


%d bloggers like this: