Deconstruct. Reinvent.

The Five Obstructions
By: Lars Von Trier

Movie Trailer:

As I mentioned in my last post, The Five Obstructions is a film that could inform an entire art curriculum, and is perhaps one of the most unique films about film-making.

The "plot" of the documentary is this: Filmmaker Lars Von Trier challenges his friend and mentor, Jorgen Leth to remake his classic short The Perfect Human 5 times, each with a few 'obstructions'. These obstructions are rules to guide his remakes. The documentary alternates between the conversations about film making between the two directors and the results of Von Trier's challenges.

I've used this documentary as a basis for video projects, and a quick survey of you tube shows me that I'm not the only one. After students have created videos based on whatever objectives you've used in the past, they will then receive some obstructions for recreating their projects. In my class, students were required to exchange obstructions, receive one from me, and pull one out of a hat. However they receive their obstructions, they will now have to navigate these limitations to creatively achieve their original goals.

Of course, this could be done in any medium- obstructions can be given to paintings, drawings, sculptures, performance art...

The Five Obstructions at IMDB.


  1. Sarah said...
    This seems to not only get valid art lessons across but also builds critical thinking and communication, thats a pretty deadly combination!
    June C said...
    i was looking for something to make me look forward to the new school year... and I think I have found it! Thank you!
    dsgran said...
    Thanks for the comments! Couldn't have said it better myself, Sarah- and June, I'm glad that its given you some inspiration. If you use it in a project, let us know! We'd love to hear about (or better yet - see) your results!

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