The Five Obstructions (2003) Movie Script

What i was thinking...
not that it's up to me.
We have no story board after all.
The idea is that we watch
the perfect human.
Then you and i will formulate
a few obstructions.
We'll make the same film, -
the perfect human, five times.
Shall we watch it? Are you up to it?
I've seen it at least 20 times.
How fantastic!
Yes, there he is.
Who is he?
What can he do?
What does he want?
Why is he moving like that?
How does he move that way?
Watch him!
Watch him now! And now!
Watch him all the time!
Now the music has gone.
No music any more.
The perfect human in a room
without any limits, without anything.
And a voice saying a few words.
This voice, saying these words.
Watch him now.
Watch him all the time.
A little gem
that we are now going to ruin.
- That's the way it's got to be.
- A good perversion to cultivate.
My first obstruction, which you can
write down right away -
- is that no single edit may
be longer than 12 frames.
I'd like to try... do you remember
all the questions in the film?
In the narration you wrote
there were some questions.
"What is this human doing?"
"Why has the music..."
i want them answered.
Now i'm going to have
to think a bit.
I need to think for a moment.
Film jorgen a bit
in the meantime.
Good to have a cigar like this.
Because it is... keeps you occupied.
While you think. I have a
cigar in haiti after supper.
As a real treat,
i have a havana.
- Where is cuba in relation to...?
- Cuba is very near haiti.
I've never been to cuba.
So the film must be shot in cuba.
Carsten? Will the budget allow
the first film to be shot in cuba?
Whether you go and
how you work will be up to you.
I'd prefer to build a room there.
Or we could use a screen.
What a pity...
in that case you can't do that.
Really? I'd better not tell you
what i am going to do, then...
- you've said it.
- No set...
- ok.
- Right.
Don't say any more, jorgen.
I can't wait to see the film.
It'll be fantastic!
- That's the first one, then.
- Yes. Bon voyage, jorgen.
See you in... well...
it's completely insane!
No edit more than 12 frames long!
Damn it...
it's totally destructive.
What the hell
does he expect me to do?
He's ruining it from the start!
It'll be a spastic film.
This is too hard.
It really is.
Just the odd car.
Just the odd car.
Another one.
Along the waterfront.
It's ridiculous getting up so early.
Look! She is going to lie down.
How will she lie down?
She lies down like that.
Like that.
We're in cuba.
We're going for a real hombre.
Hombre cubano.
- What's her name?
- Vivian.
She looks nice.
We'll just wait for dan.
- Have they explained?
- No, not yet.
She looks great.
I'm dan.
The photographer.
She's a dancer.
- The others will be here later.
- So we don't have to decide yet.
Does she know the phone number?
...jose knows.
We are going to watch
the perfect human at work.
How does such
a human work?
We're going to look and see.
We're going to investigate.
We're going to see -
- what the perfect human
looks like and what it can do.
He's brought the photos
of the second woman.
He says it's a bad photo
and that she is very beautiful.
She certainly is.
And he says she's got nice... tits.
My goodness!
- And then there are these.
- I don't think we'll want them.
No... no.
Will it work, dan? In claus nissen's
original he wipes it on paper.
But it looks messy.
He could have a bowl
of water off camera.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Around my left hand a circle of
blurred white flames was shining.
I observed carefully the left side
of my own dark jacket.
In the centre of my heart
there was a tiny white point.
I don't know what it means.
We've got things under control,
...i reckon.
The 12 frames
are a paper tiger!
You've no idea what
it'll be like using 12 frames?
No. I certainly haven't.
I certainly haven't.
jorgen! You're looking great.
That's not good.
Bad sign!
You ought to look battered.
People who've been tripped up
look battered.
Like i should've been walking on
I can't wait to show it
to you, i must say.
- I'm already skeptical.
- Of course you are.
- I can't see how you...
- no, you can't.
You can't imagine
how we worked round things.
One always feels furious when it
turns out that there are solutions.
- 12 frames...
- that was vicious of me.
And i had to answer
the questions in the narration.
Somewhere i'd never been before,
namely cuba.
And we weren't allowed
to build a set.
Four... that's quite a few
obstacles for a single obstruction!
Maybe. Next time
we'll have to use a few more.
Be careful, jorgen!
You've already exposed yourself!
I've been warned not
to expose myself straight away.
And so you start by doing so.
Next time we'll use
five obstructions.
- I'm ready if you are.
- I'm ready to show you.
The first obstruction.
Cuba... cuba.
Havana. Cigar. Man. Woman.
Havana. Cuba.
This voice is saying these words.
Woman. Cigar.
Here is the perfect human.
Here is the perfect human.
We are going to investigate what the
perfect human looks like and can do.
We are looking
at the perfect human being.
The perfect human
is getting undressed.
Tie, jacket.
Here is the perfect human.
Here is the perfect human.
We are looking at the perfect human.
We are looking at the perfect human.
An eye.
Look at this human's eye.
And now a mouth.
A mouth.
The perfect human is moving
in a room.
There is music in the room.
There isn't any music in the room.
There is music in the room.
This is how he moves.
Why is he moving like that?
Because women like it
when he moves like that.
An ear.
That's what an ear looks like.
Again, an ear.
And again, a mouth.
She lies down.
How will she lie down?
She lies down like this.
This is how she lies down.
What is the perfect human thinking?
Is he thinking about happiness?
Death? Love?
About what he is going
to do tonight?
About the woman, perhaps?
About what it's like
to touch her skin.
Maybe he is thinking about her
eyes, her legs, her mouth.
Perhaps he is thinking about
what she said to him.
Her words.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Around my left hand -
- a circle -
- of blurred white flames
was shining.
I observed carefully -
- the left side
of my own dark jacket.
In the centre of my heart there
was a tiny white point.
I don't know -
- what it means.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Yes... i made a complete mess
of those obstructions.
- The 12 frames were a gift!
- Yes. That's how i took them.
It was like watching
an old leth film! Interesting!
Well, jorgen,
so far you have passed the test.
- I'm pleased to hear it.
- So i've made us a little snack.
And a little vodka
i'm specially looking forward to.
I've got a penchant for alcohol,
as you know.
- Always before 12 noon.
- That's when it works best.
- Wow, caviar! How splendid!
- We should use bone spoons.
Using metal for caviar
is completely wrong.
We're going to have to
have you really on the ropes.
It's up to you how much
you want to help me or not.
- I think you should help me.
- So you say.
...i think i should take care
not to give you any cards.
Because you'll inevitably
use them against me.
It's similar to therapy -
- where you might
say the same applies.
But why go? If you don't give
the therapist the cards?
My plan is to proceed from
the perfect to the human, right?
That's my agenda.
Actually i want to "banalize" you.
But how the hell do we do that?
- I don't know.
- No, you don't.
But that's what
i want you to help me to do.
We may be able to do so by finding
things that hurt. Like the 12 frames.
I can't identify
my soft spots in advance.
- The 12 frames were a soft spot.
- Absolutely.
The highly affected
distance you maintain -
- to the things you describe...
that's what i want to get rid of
in my next obstruction.
- It's not merely a pose.
- Not at all.
But i'd like to put
your ethics to the test.
- Yes.
- That might be interesting.
We talk so much about
the ethics of the observer...
the observer is my role, of course.
- It's my instinct.
- I want to move you on from there.
To make you empathize.
I'd like to send you to
the most miserable place on earth.
That won't cause you any problems.
You're good at going to
the most miserable places.
As long as there is a hotel.
I can't say. It's up to you to
define the most miserable place.
Can you think of any places,
any themes one cannot exploit? No.
- No, not off hand.
- No.
Not off hand.
But i'm not that uncivilized.
I may say there are no limits.
But there might be situations...
would you film a dying child
in a refugee camp -
- and add the words from
a perfect human?
No, i wouldn't.
I'm not perverse.
There is a degree
of perversion in...
- in maintaining a distance?
- In the way you do things.
How far are you prepared to go if
you're not describing something?
It'd be worth
a laboratory experiment.
Would anything rub off?
I want you to go close to
a few really harrowing things.
Dramas from real life
that you refrain from filming.
- You've done so before.
- Yes, it's a fascinating discipline.
How close can you get?
And when you come back -
- you have to tell the story.
Let's say the man is you.
You play claus nissen.
The meal will be there
but not the woman.
It'll be rather pinter-like,
having her not there.
But the meal will be there.
- Have you thought it over?
- Yes, i think i have.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Lars von trier has
this romantic notion -
- that i'll be so affected -
- by being placed in a situation
where a social drama is going on -
- beside you.
He wants to quantify -
- how much it rubs off,
how much it affects me.
Will it be visible?
Will it be quantifiable?
But i think it's pure romanticism.
there is no physiological law.
There is
no physical law that states -
- that you can witness so much -
- that you reach the limit where
you break down.
We're on our way to the
red light district, falkland road.
It's a horror scene
that i saw a few years ago.
Do you have ten rupees?
It's unfortunate
i can't open the window.
That's the kind of scene
lars von trier wants.
That's what he'd like.
That scene.
Damn it! And he can have it.
Damn it! And he can have it.
It'll be a tough film to make.
It's a tough challenge.
Because... matter what we film, no matter
what i say to you, to the camera, -
- it will still be a game.
It will still involve
stepping right up close -
- and then showing that distance.
I am so cool.
I can go through with it.
It doesn't bother me
to play the perfect human -
- against practically
any background.
That's just the way it is.
Why is joy so whimsical?
Why is happiness so brief?
Why did you leave me?
I'd get into deep water
if i tried to imitate him.
But he is my model.
It is his scene.
A scene i wrote for him but
which he completely improvised.
I didn't write it.
I didn't write it.
I didn't ask him to do what he did.
I told him to eat -
- and finish the scene.
That was all. Just eat.
That's why i regard claus nissen
as such an eminent actor.
He plays with emptiness,
plays with nothing.
He plays with the fragments
and crumbs he can find.
What he does is ingenious.
Walks, runs, jumps, falls.
Walks, lies down, lies down.
- Any corrections?
- It looks great. How about falling?
- What?
- Falling. Like he does.
I can't... fall down there?
No, i bloody well can't!
- Are you chickening out?
- I can't do that. Hell, no!
I could try falling here...
"and this is how he falls."
Really terrible.
"Gets up again... gets up again."
"Gets up."
We'll have to do it
at the very end, that's for sure.
We'll have to remember to do it.
How does he fall?
This is how he falls.
Are you taking
some valium along tomorrow?
Yes, i am.
Just to be on the safe side.
I don't take it regularly.
Not at all.
But things may get so enervating -
- that it'll be good to have
some in my bag just in case.
If i can't... if i can't control
my nerves or something.
Now i'm just waiting
for dan to send for me.
Then i'll go over,
take the cork out of the chablis, -
- and move some fish onto my plate
and maybe even eat a little of it.
- I'm ready for that.
- No valium?
No valium.
The transparent screen
we stretched out -
- provided an image area, -
- a framing of reality, -
- which was both concrete
and incredibly subtle and artful.
It was a very elegant,
playful response -
- to the whole idea of the project -
- which involved the distance
that had been introduced -
- and which we wanted to minimize
during this particular obstruction.
We wanted to minimize the distance
between the perfect and the human.
Also today i experienced
something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Around my right hand -
- a circle of
blurred white flames was shining.
I observed carefully -
- the left side
of my own dark jacket.
In the centre of my heart
there was a tiny white point.
I don't know what it means.
The perfect human has
to eat and drink.
We are going to watch a meal.
The wine looks splendid
in the glass.
And onto the plate -
- lovely fish, with rice,
onions, lemon, and a green sauce.
With it,
a bottle of chablis.
How does the perfect human eat?
The fish is a beautiful sight
on a table.
It deserves to lie on silver.
Dinner is served.
Now the meal must go,
piece by piece, -
- into the mouth.
It tastes good
and its consistency is good.
Bon appetit!
Why is joy so whimsical?
Happiness so brief?
Why did you leave me?
Why did you go away?
Very, very, very tasty.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Don't get your hopes up of
understanding in a few days!
I'm sorry, jorgen, but i am
going to have to speak harshly.
You know how fond i am of you -
- and how little i want to.
- It was not the film i asked for.
- I'll be damned! Let's hear why not.
One of the rules i asked for was
that we shouldn't see those people.
Yes, but i interpreted
that loosely.
I have to say i disapprove.
I'm going to have
to send you back, you know.
- You can't...
- i'm afraid i'll have to.
I'm afraid i have no option.
- It's a place i can't go back to.
- Find somewhere worse, then.
The whole idea was
that we mustn't see them.
I am disappointed, jorgen.
I am disappointed.
I thought it was
a highly successful balancing act.
It's a marvelous film.
I love it.
But i don't think
it followed the rules.
Obviously this is a sophistic game.
I put up a screen and screened off
this bit of real life.
And dan holmberg had
the ingenious idea -
- of making
the screen transparent.
I do understand. And this film
is most likely much better -
- than the other would be.
But i asked for the other one.
Maybe we can make it differently.
One always tries
to make a better film...
that's what you mustn't do.
You always try to be too good.
This is therapy, not a film
competition with yourself.
You've made the best film.
I assume the best was the first.
There's no doubt
that that is the film.
We're using it to go back in time -
- to see where we can goad you
and examine it.
When i left here last time
i was in shock.
I thought "it's impossible!"
"Yet another suicidal situation!"
"It's too hard.
I've no desire to do it."
"How can i find the desire?"
It was really harsh of you.
Even so, an idea soon came to me.
I asked myself, "where are
the most awful places i've seen?"
The first place to occur to me
was a horrific experience -
- of the red light district, bombay.
I'd seen it a few years previously.
I'd seen it 6 or 7 years ago.
I thought it
a horror beyond compare.
The kind of thing
you run away from, screaming.
I am not afraid of
prostitutes in general.
But this was a picture from hell.
We shot the film. I was
cold-blooded and had no scruples.
I thought "damn it, we can do this."
Then i had a night after that.
Two nights.
I had one of those rare nightmares
you remember when you wake up.
The analytical
thought occurred to me -
- that there was something
faust-like about it. A pact.
Something diabolical,
some kind of alchemy.
By going to the limits -
- you also pay the price
of going to the point -
- where fear transforms
into madness, to put it bluntly.
- Where fear transforms
into madness, to put it bluntly.
When you have
to avoid sleep -
- so as not to fall back into that
nightmare, you're in deep shit.
You are my hero.
There's no doubt about it.
- That was the background.
- I'd never dare anything like it.
- But i didn't expose myself enough?
- You really exposed yourself.
But i don't think you were true
to what mattered most to me.
- I wasn't true to the idea?
- No.
Ok, that's a harsh statement.
How about reconsidering?
- I have considered.
- When did you do that?
Since i saw the film.
I have to think the way i do.
I'm sorry. It's not just
because i'm being stubborn.
Make the same film again,
but with a background.
It'd be deadly to do
the same thing again.
- With me again, for example.
- Maybe.
- I don't want to. I can't.
- You've put me into a spot.
We haven't achieved what i wanted.
So i have to punish you somehow.
What should the punishment be?
What should it be?
It should fit the crime.
Yes, but what kind of method
should be applied?
I can't say. I prefer you
to make the decisions.
So make a film
with no rules from me!
That would be mean.
That would be no good.
That's the way it's going
to have to be, jorgen.
I am sorry, but to
assert my authority -
- i'll have to ask you to make that
film again the way you think best -
- the perfect human in 2002.
Just make it.
- How diabolical!
- Yes!
- And i'll have to...
- you're entirely free.
- That seems to be the meanest way.
- Teacher is offended.
Yes, and your punishment
is to make a free-style film.
I don't like it. I'd rather
have something to hang onto.
All right, shoot it in bombay against
a white wall, or do it your way.
I don't know what to say.
Apart from the fact that...
- it's below the belt.
- It is.
It certainly is.
- That's how it's got to be.
- It's bad.
All i can say is "good luck."
Listen to the sound of the human
attending to personal hygiene.
Listen to the perfect human living,
listen to its sounds.
What is this human thinking about?
Where is it?
I'll just phone marianne.
Marianne, i'm trying
to find out where it is.
Oh, here. There's 60.
So i have to carry on.
Yes, it's down there.
Where can i get down to
the next floor, madame?
It must be around here.
What is the perfect human like
to touch?
What is the skin like?
Is it smooth? Is it warm?
Is it soft? Is it dry?
Is it well cared-for?
What is the skin on the chin like?
What is it like
on the legs?
On the arms? On the throat?
I'm really pleased with him.
He looks great.
His attitude to
the job is refreshing.
He is well...
well bruised as a person.
He has experience of life.
He has lived a life.
His story is fantastic.
He played the lead in
la collectionneuse, -
- erik rohmer's
most important film.
The nymphomaniac,
as it was known in denmark.
They can be moved at random.
Magic chairs, eh?
I see it as a kind
of ghostly ballet -
- with the chairs.
We know it's a set-up.
We go up to them and move
them around... haphazardly.
Into a new, interesting arrangement.
It may be best
if they're facing the front.
But we can do as we please.
"Somebody has moved them
around in the dark," right?
A mystery.
That's the idea we're
keeping from the original scene.
And he'll end up
sitting on one of them.
Look, this is what an ear looks like.
And here's a pair of knees.
And here is a foot.
Again, an ear.
Here's an eye.
Look at this human's eye.
And here comes a mouth.
A mouth.
And again, a mouth.
"Repetez plusieurs fois."
A woman on a chair in a room.
She does nothing.
She gets up.
She leaves the frame. Repeated
several times. We've shot that.
Strange cars arriving
at a group of buildings.
A wood, a field, a beach.
We haven't done that yet.
A house lit up in the darkness.
Murmuring in the darkness.
Piano music... we'll make that fit.
But this one... on the back seat,
a woman, lets herself be undressed...
we've done that.
We certainly have.
It's very much a dialogue, -
- playing back and
forth across the net.
He serves hard
and we return as hard as nails.
That's the way it is.
He serves hard again.
A deadly serve.
And we have to pull our best shot
out of the bag to return his serve.
- You say you've something for me?
- Yes.
The third obstruction.
If you're ready
to show me, i'm ready to watch.
Right then.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Hello, m. Rukov.
How are you?
Are there any messages for 411?
No, not at present, i am afraid.
Me, i am a woman
one of the best
one of the richest in love
one of the most experienced.
Me, who is always loyal
me, who is always friendly
me, who is always sensitive
me, who is very much in love
me, who is very elegant
i am one
of the most beautiful women
i have lots of affection
for other people
i have a lot of feeling
i am a woman
with great strength of spirit
with the three films you've made
not a mark has been left on you.
They may have hurt,
but you're unmarked.
I want us to figure out how to make
a film that leaves a mark on you.
But not if you don't
want to, of course.
You may prefer to regard it
like working with an actor.
Where you push me to extremes...
the greatest gift an actor
can give you is to screw up.
I want the same kind of gift
as i get from an actor -
- when he does a scene
in a way he hates -
- but which is great for me because
it came as if through the machine -
- that the actor is
in that situation, -
- and in which he has
done the good stuff, too.
It's like chopping
cabbage in the mincer -
- after making vanilla biscuits
in order to clean it.
- To clean it.
- Yes.
The last crumbs would be forced out
that nobody liked.
As a kind of sacrifice to this film -
- i'd like to achieve that feeling
of a tortoise on its back.
Yes. "tortoise."
I'll write it down.
The trouble is you're so clever
that whatever i say inspires you.
- Yes. I can't help it.
- No, we can't avoid it.
But if you think about
the technique you use...
it's inclination.
I isolate places and things that
i want to examine precisely.
That's my method.
I frame them precisely.
I wait for the right moment.
As you know, i believe strongly
in waiting and observing.
What the hell do i do
when i am at work?
What is it that means everything?
Because sometimes everything
suddenly turns out to be crap.
Pure crap. And when i ask why, -
- the answer is because of
something i couldn't control.
It's of no interest
if control is the only thing.
I believe blindly that if
you arrange a sluice or a frame -
- something will happen
that you can't control.
I love it when things
get out of control.
I'm going to make a very, very,
very simple rule for the next film.
I can't imagine
it'll be anything but crap.
And let's say
it'll be all right if it is crap.
I'd be thrilled if it was crap.
But there is one single condition.
It's got to be a cartoon.
The great advantage
of doing it as a cartoon -
- is that you'll be faced
with loads of decisions.
The aesthetics and all that.
It can only turn out to be crap.
- I hate cartoons.
- I hate cartoons, too.
- I hate cartoons.
- I hate cartoons.
I can't be bothered to invent
the technology or learn about it.
Absolutely not.
Nor will i spend time at a stupid
drawing board or whatever.
No damned way.
Hi. Things are going well.
I'm in the taxi.
It's pretty wild.
I've got to make a cartoon.
I've got to make a cartoon.
Yes. Yes, it's way out of line.
Yes, just out of his head came
this idea of a cartoon.
I said "i hate cartoons."
I've never seen one i liked.
And he said he felt exactly the same
way; he doesn't like cartoons at all.
Not at all.
So, you know... i could
see the logic of it, damn it.
So... you know...
we discussed it. I'm not allowed
to use any clever artistic devices.
You know, like picasso -
- or casual brush strokes.
It has to be a cartoon
of the kind we don't like.
Yes, damn it,
i am being serious!
We mustn't film anything new.
Let's turn that to our advantage.
Ok, we mustn't use anything new.
We'll use some old stuff -
- but it mustn't look as
if it's been recycled or repeated.
We'll use it actively.
We'll write a new text into it, -
- a new context,
and breathe freshness into it.
It's not exactly what
lars von trier has asked us to do.
On the contrary. He might prefer
not to have any freshness, -
- inspiration, ideas or poetry.
He'd like it to be sloppy or stupid.
It ought to be stupid.
But i can't do that. I refuse to.
We must make something of it.
I think it's an interesting exercise,
That's what i feel at the moment.
We're on our way
to meet bob sabiston.
It'll be exciting.
We're all tense and excited.
He received camilla's film
sequences a few days ago, -
- i got them three days ago, -
- and you haven't seen them at all.
We know that
we want him to suggest ways -
- of making a cartoon
based on the perfect human.
Has he already got a few ideas?
Has he anything to show us?
It'll be exciting to meet him.
A man we contacted simply
because of his reputation, -
- and with whom
we have corresponded.
That's the solution
we have come up with.
Do you think
it will be crap this time?
No, i don't think so.
I think we'll make
something interesting.
Lars von trier may well
be very disappointed.
Or furious.
Or however he reacts!
Although we can't control it entirely
and cartoons are boring, -
- we can't help becoming involved
instinctively -
- and looking for a solution
that nevertheless satisfies us.
So i'm afraid
it won't be a load of crap.
Look... the perfect human
is moving in a room.
The perfect human
can move in a room.
The room has no limits.
It is brilliantly lit.
It is an empty room.
Here there are no limits.
Here there is nothing.
- Hi, jorgen.
- Hi, lars.
I've phoned you because we're
going to watch your little film.
- Yes, we are.
- Are you ready?
I can't wait! It's ready and
i can't wait to show it to you.
- You sound a little too happy.
- I am very pleased with it.
But i await your judgement.
Shall we watch it?
Yes. I'm ready to start.
I'm pressing play now.
Me, too.
I am smoking a cigarette.
I am thinking about you.
I am thinking about your knee.
The feeling of holding you
behind the knee.
I am smoking a cigarette.
Also today
i experienced something -
- that i hope to understand
in a few days.
Around my left hand a circle of
blurred white flames was shining.
In the centre of my heart
there was a tiny white point.
I don't know what it means.
We've finished, jorgen.
Yes, so have i.
You are a tease, jorgen.
But we'll get back to that.
I think it's a beautiful film.
It's amusing seeing him put
his jacket on several times.
It's that mtv cartoon strip universe.
It's fine.
I had prepared myself for
this situation, i must admit.
I feel obliged
to bring things full circle.
I had hoped you would.
And i do so -
- because i've been the pedagogical
motive force in all this, eh?
The ultimate obstruction -
- will be
that you do nothing at all -
- apart from being credited
as the director...
...and you read
a narration script written by me.
That's all you have to do.
I have to say that the material
i need for the film has been shot.
It's the material we shot
while doing these obstructions.
Hopefully we captured
something human as we talked.
So that's the idea and
i can't imagine you're objecting.
Not at all.
I think it's fantastic.
You can sink back into your haiti
depression with a clear conscience.
- Ok, lars.
- Give them all my regards.
And i'll eat the damned caviar.
Well, he was very pleased with it.
He admitted that it was a cartoon.
There was no reason -
- to make a big deal
out of what we'd done.
Obviously not. No point in my
criticizing or praising my own work.
It would have been superfluous;
he had no objections.
There are just a few areas in life
on which i think i'm an expert.
One of them is jorgen leth.
I think i know considerably
more about him...
...than he does.
So this entire project -
- has been a "help
jorgen leth" project.
I have to narrate a script
lars von trier had written for me.
As the fifth obstruction.
He is going to direct me.
It's fiction, really.
A letter to him from me -
- starting with the words
"dear, silly lars."
It'll be the voice over
for some sequences -
- that camilla is collecting
and assembling.
It's a very special way of doing it.
He doesn't want to see
camilla's work -
- until we meet
the day after tomorrow.
You look happier and happier...
but you'll be forcing me
to speak quickly!
Oh, no. It must come from within.
You're just like those actors,
all nervous.
Don't be. All your guilt
i have taken upon me.
You are guiltless.
You are like a little child.
You don't have to do a thing.
Those are the conditions.
No rehearsing.
Jorgen gets the rush of sartre and
hemmingway's historical wings -
- to waft away the discomfort
and insecurity -
- because he hasn't the guts
to take wing for himself!
You put the stress on
"take wing" instead of "himself."
You're doing everything you can
to evade the text!
It's "take wing for himself."
That's the point.
You are really wriggling.
In my filmic upbringing, -
- what jorgen calls the rules of
the game have always been vital.
They are something
he introduced to my universe.
They are limitations or
self-flagellation, if you like.
I wanted to impose
this flagellation on jorgen.
I've told you many times
"make something that's crap."
- And i didn't...
- so i hope this will be crap.
- It's very exciting.
- The words are powerful.
- It's been written.
- It's finished.
With a few comments about
the way the film will be edited.
Illustratively vis-a-vis the words.
That's important because it's
something i don't see you doing.
- Your rules tell you not to.
- I don't do that, no.
It'll be fun using
the visuals illustratively.
Shall we just watch it?
Dear, silly lars,
you thought you could trip me up.
I hope you understand better now
after more than a couple of days.
You say your obstructions
had no underlying plan.
But you had a theory.
You thought, "this is jorgen.
Just what is jorgen?"
"Jorgen is a wretch, just like me."
He'd made the film you felt
more akin to than any other, -
- "so i must be from the same
family as jorgen."
Just as you wanted to be chastised,
you would now chastise jorgen.
It was a personal assault.
Don't pretend it wasn't.
You thought "jorgen is
trying to hide his true self -
- behind his provocative,
perverse perfection."
"He wants to conceal
his angst -
- behind a personal fiction
of rows of armani suits on hangers, -
- protecting him through his
months of depression on haiti."
"Jorgen gets the rush of sartre and
hemmingway's historical wings -
- to wave away the discomfort
and that damned insecurity -
- because he hasn't the guts
to take wing for himself!"
"I see through him."
It was arrogant,
but i realize it was meant kindly.
You wanted to get
into where the scream was, -
- and let it out.
"He is the most beautiful bird
but just doesn't believe it."
"I'll chase him till he takes wing."
You ordered me around
and issued prohibitions -
- to distract me,
to penetrate my armor.
"We could distract jorgen by
getting him to make a film."
"This is how the perfect human
makes a film, watch him now..."
"then he'd give himself away for
sure... or what if i provoke him?"
"Film him with his guard up
and we'll find all the gaps."
But no matter how odd
the clarinet sounded -
- you could not
see behind my eyes.
No matter how close you got -
- you couldn't see beneath
the skin of my hand -
- to the nerves and
most delicate blood vessels.
Nothing was revealed
and nothing helped.
I didn't come staggering out of
the ruins to thank you, lars.
Or did i? You've got me now.
You're forcing me to read
your words.
So let's get it over with.
Dear lars, thank you
for your obstructions.
They've shown me what i really am,
an abject, human human.
I try to fool the world because
i don't want to be part of it.
My trick is cheap
and i repeat it endlessly.
If i go on telling
the viewer what i see, -
- like a prisoner of war repeating
his name and number, -
- without adding anything...
emotions are far too dangerous, -
- the world and i will fall for it.
I call it art -
- but i am certain
that i cannot do a thing.
I only do all this so
i can put up with myself.
My films are bluff.
A hideaway, lars.
Thank you for chastising
me so lovingly!
Was that nice?
Does it make any difference?
Maybe you put words
into other people's mouths -
- to get out of saying them yourself.
No, it makes no difference,
and you know it.
Your theory didn't stand up, lars.
Your pedagogical mission
didn't get to grips.
My hand shook less,
obstruction by obstruction.
I grew more sure
of myself as we receded -
- from the person my first film was
really about to anybody but you.
You say
i didn't dare to find my way -
- into what i so dishonestly
and skillfully conceal -
- and you imagine
to be so valuable.
But it's no good.
The dishonest person
was you, lars.
You only saw
what you wanted to see.
The skepticism you felt about
yourself must go for me, too.
But you exposed yourself.
You wanted to make me human,
but that's what i am!
You got me to play along but
you let me get on the defensive.
As we all know, it's the attacker
who really exposes himself.
The truth is,
you got it wrong!
I obstructed you, no matter how
much you wanted the opposite.
And you fell flat on your face.
How does the perfect human fall?
This is how the perfect human falls.