Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Perfect Human (Det perfekte menneske)

A short film by Jørgen Leth

Today I experienced something that I hope to understand in a few days.
Lars Von Trier's favourite film is Leth's The Perfect Human (1967). Von Trier gives Leth the task of remaking The Perfect Human five times, each time with a different 'obstruction' (or obstacle) given by Von Trier.

Obstruction 1: Leth must remake the film in Cuba (but with no set) with no shot longer than 12 frames, and he must answer the questions posed in the original film; Leth successfully completes this task.

Obstruction 2: Leth must remake the film in the worst place in the world but not show that place onscreen; additionally, Leth must play the role of "the man". The meal must be included but the woman is not to be included. Leth remakes the film in the red light district of Bombay, only partially hiding it behind a translucent screen.

Obstruction 3: Because Leth failed to complete task 2 perfectly, Von Trier punishes him, telling him to either remake the film in any way he chooses, or redo obstruction 2 in Bombay again. Leth chooses the former option and remakes it in Brussels using split-screen effects.

Obstruction 4: Leth must remake the film as an animation. He does so with the aid of Bob Sabiston, a specialist in rotoscoping, who creates animated versions of shots from the previous films.

Obstruction 5: The fifth obstruction is that Von Trier has already made the fifth version, but it must be credited as Leth's, and Leth must read a voiceover narration ostensibly from his own perspective but in fact written by Von Trier.
I can't find a video for this one.

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