Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Unicorn Obstructions: Proposal

We are big fans of a documentary film called “The Five Obstructions” in which Danish director, Lars von Treir, challenges his mentor, Jorgen Leth, to remake a short film of his from 1967 entitled “The Perfect Human.” He has to remake the short five times, each time incorporating some of Lar’s “obstructions.” Under the guise of making Leth a better filmmaker and in turn, a better person, von Treir’s obstructions are more mean-spirited attacks than helpful suggestions. They include making a cut in the film every 12 frames and shooting in India or Cuba for no apparent reason. Lars will ask him questions so that Leth will admit to things he doesn’t like. He will then make him do these very things. This is generally followed by a light snack of caviar. Much to Lar’s chagrin, Leth’s remade films turn out to be very good. The man is a terrific filmmaker. It forces him to make interesting variations on his original theme. It is a brilliant movie, breathtaking in its pretension.

So in the spirit of experimenting and doing things for no other reason than, “It sounds like fun,” this film has inspired us to propose our own obstruction experiment. We’re no legends of Danish cinema, but sometime ago, we made a short film called “Unicorn” in which Will plays a guy with a mustache who is stalked by a stuffed Unicorn. It is riveting, some of our best work. It is also a pretty good “neutral” scene (at least we think so.) The goal is now to find people we know to challenge us with their own obstructions. We will try to choose people who not only have strong feelings about film, but who we think can push us creatively and as filmmakers to make a better, more interesting film.

You can watch “Unicorn” in one the posts below. We plan to post all developments that arise from The Unicorn Obstructions as they happen on the blog, so please stay tuned.

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