Film of the Week | The Perfect Human (1967)

Jorgen Leth maybe remembered in America most memorably for his ‘Andy Warhol Eating a Burger’ scene in 66 Scenes of America (1982) but it was his ‘The Perfect Human’ that showed actual and great promise as a surrealist poet and filmmaker. The 1967 short film which had Claus Nissen (the actor who Leth claimed was the most natural and could bravely and best depict nothingness of life) and Majken Nielsen playing the ‘perfect man’ and the ‘perfect woman’ respectively.

The surrealistic short had both the actors constantly ‘doing everyday things’ in a plain white room with the viewers to judge them as two animals in a zoo. “Who is a perfect human?” Leth asks, but doesn’t answer. He only depicts certain probabilities in pictures, all with the aim of arriving at the conclusion that the question itself is mundane.

Lar Von Trier, the controversial, maverick Danish filmmaker and longtime disciple of Andrei Tarkovsky challenged Leth to remake ‘The Perfect Human’ each time with a different ‘obstruction’, such as a cinematic obstacle of 12 frames, a location obstacle, a genre obstacle of cartoon. Hence, the film that was made out of it was titled ‘The Five Obstructions.’

Catharsis rating: 3.5/5




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