CANNES – The creator of Antichrist and the helmer of Taxi Driver will collaborate on their next project. Danish director Lars von Trier and Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese are teaming up for a remake of The Five Obstructions, von Trier’s 2003 documentary deconstructing the film making process.
☛ The Hollywood Reporter: “Martin Scorsese, Lars von Trier Team Up For ‘The Five Obstructions’ Remake (Cannes)” by Scott Roxborough, May 13, 2011
The Five Obstructions (2003) is Lars von Trier takes on the theme of artistic expression and its constraints. Here’s how the film is presented by Mette Hjort in The Routledge companion to philosophy and film:
Released in 2003, to considerable critical acclaim, The Five Obstructions (De fem benspænd) is a coauthored avant-gardist work that has intrigued philosophers on account of its philosophical dimensions. The Five Obstructions began as an e-mail invitation, issued by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier to his former teacher and mentor, the older, quite accomplished, yet far less well-known filmmaker, Jørgen Leth. The invitation, more specifically, was to participate in a cinematic game, with general parameters established in advance and further rules to be unilaterally produced by Trier (while interacting with Leth) in the course of the game. The general parameters dictated that Leth would remake his celebrated twelve-minute modernist nonfiction film from 1967, The Perfect Human (Det perfekte menneske) five times, following obstructive rules laid down by von Trier. The aim of the rules, it was clear from the start, would be to trip up and thwart Leth, as the term “obstruction” itself suggest. (edited by Paisley Livingston and Carl R. Plantinga, New York: Routledge, 2009, p. 631; Google Books)
Whether or not you’ve already seen the film, you’ll be interested in a special issue of FILM, the magazine of the Danish Film Institute produced in English in 2002 on the occasion of the Jørgen Leth Retrospective in New York 2002 (for more information about this retrospective, follow this link). The issue titled FILM#Special Issue/LETH contains, among other things, the original e-mail exchange between Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth which led to the creation of The Five Obstructions (see pages 30-32; get the PDF from the DFI or from here; the e-mail exchange was originally published in FILM#19).
Below is the trailer for the original film The Five Obstructions (2003) and the movie poster: