I really wanted to love this film. I still want to like it a lot. I am a big fan of any kind of obstruction or limitation. I really enjoy formal precepts. Oulipo is an amazing thing. Did it produce "masterpieces"? By extension...It cleared the air. It revealed the machinery and "made" nature of literary production. It de - reified "inspiration" and/or "emotion" in art. These things are great...The reflexivity in Godard...amazing. OK, the artificiality in Dogville! Also amazing.
But I didn't feel the tension between the "Obstructions" and their products. The game was obvious, but what was learned? Leth made a few movies, and they all circled around The Perfect Human, his film from 1967. But did they land? He remade it in Bombay. He made it into a cartoon. He made it in Cuba. He made it as a classic "Three Colors: Whatever" Eurotrash film (in Brussels).
Maybe the moral is you can never make a (former) mentor into a student, and if you think you really want to, you probably should start teaching. Get 'em while they're young, while they're really impressionable. Talk about restrictions as a kind of craft; make the students aware of the need to work and explore rather than to sit around and wait for "inspiration". This is surely useful. But for Leth? He seems happy enough self - medicating in his little quasi - retirement paradise in Haiti...what has he done since this film?
The Perfect Human is not really a Masterpiece, IMHO. But it has in incredible "look". Sometimes I really think that the sixties were really the highpoint of filmmaking. The look of films from that time is so etched - lifelike and artificial, both at the same time. The screen image, the chiaroscuro...the clothes, the manner. Far away from the thirties "Dream Factory", but still aware that the film is an object, a thing...The Five Obstructions has that shiny, sweaty video look. It looks too casual. I can't take leave, not at all. I want to find the object that it is compelling. But I don't.
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