Sylvielin's Blog

The Perfect and the Insane : Interview with Jorgen Leth

Posted in Interviews with Filmmakers by sylvielin on May 3, 2010

“I always wanted a film to be as free as writing poetry. As free as opening the structure and opening to changes, to sudden chance and impacts. I think this film has these probabilities. It is very fresh in its structure. It’s not preconceived. It goes where it goes.”

—- Jorgen Leth (extract from the interview)

〔Extract from the original text〕

It took about three years to finish “The Five Obstructions”. Whereas the film is an integrated form, actually you kind of worked back and forth, interacting with Lars Von Tiers at the same time. In the course of making the film, there were certainly some conflict, etc. Did you ever want to change your mind, or…? Do you think that in some way the process of making the film can be parallel to happening/performance art?

AnsYes. For me there is a lot of relevance to compare to performance art/happenings. I was very early inspired by artists like Andy Warhol, also a lot of this kind of collective art. I’ve always been interested in the process, and the creative process. I think this film is a wonderful opportunity to see a work in progress as the work itself. It was very open in the structure. I never knew where it’d go. This is an ideal for me. I’m also a poet. When you write poetry, you start in the upper left corner, and then you see what happens. I never plan where it goes. I never know where it goes. I see what happens. It’s my favorite concept to be open to whatever is happening. In that way, poetry is a very free form.
I always wanted a film could be as free as writing poetry. As free as opening the structure and opening to changes, to sudden chance and impacts. I think this film has these probabilities. It is very fresh in its structure. It’s not preconceived. It goes where it goes. You made sudden jumps which I didn’t really plan. Because in this film, the deal was to be totally honest . We didn’t script anything. I didn’t know what Lars was going to tell me. He probably didn’t know how I was going to answer him. It’s very related in that way to happenings and what you later call performance art. Absolutely. It is very satisfying for me to work that way.

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