Best Movies by Farr
The Five Obstructions Poster
Released Runtime Category
2003 90 Documentary, Foreign Language
Director Language
Lars Von Trier Danish
Lars Von Trier, Jorgen Leth

The Five Obstructions

Watch it on:

What's it About
In this ingenious documentary, Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier (“Dogville”) challenges his old muse and mentor Jorgen Leth to a novel highbrow game: Leth must remake his 1967 short film, “The Perfect Human,” no less than five times, according to increasingly stringent rules or obstructions imposed by the devilish Von Trier. Zipping from India to Haiti to Austin, Texas, Leth strives to stay one step ahead of his young tormentor.
Why we love it

You couldn't ask for a better match-up than Von Trier, a world-class filmmaker with an infamous sadistic streak, and the depressive Leth, truly a melancholy Dane and a talented artist in his own right. As we follow Leth's efforts to revisit an old film in different formats under various hardships — one obstruction is to film in a place that terrifies him, another to create an animated version of his artsy short — we learn the man's mindset and prodigious store of artistic resources, via his wry voiceover. In the end, however, Von Trier unintentionally reveals as much about himself as his cunning subject, a great twist on a wicked psychological game.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"