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Martin Scorsese and Lars von Trier To Remake ‘The Five Obstructions’

Posted by , on May 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm 

There was a story circulating in February of last year that Martin Scorsese and Lars von Trier would be collaborating to remake the former’s 1976 classic, Taxi Driver. It would be done in the vein of the latter’s The Five Obstructions, a documentary he made where he challenges filmmaker Jorgen Leth to remake his short, The Perfect Human. It seemed like it was just a crazy rumor, and both parties blew it off as such.

But it looks like it’ll be happening in some form, as THR says that the two are indeed collaborating for a remake of The Five Obstructions. For those of you who don’t know that film pictured to the right, it had von Trier challenging Leth to remake The Perfect Human five different times, and each time with a new “obstruction” (hence the title). They included not being allowed to have any shots be more than 12 frames, shooting it in “the worst place in the world,” having it be animated, and so on. We’re not sure what exactly will be remade here, although some still say that it’ll be Taxi Driver.

I’m not entirely sure that would happen, though, as a film that runs for two hours is harder to remake five times than a short that runs for 13 minutes. The Hollywood Reporter suggested that it might be one of his early shorts, like The Big Shave or What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? As someone who’s seen both, I feel confident in saying that the same obstructions applied this time around would still be pretty fascinating to see. For example: remaking The Big Shave with 12 frame shots would be an interesting exercise in simple scene construction, while Girl would provide a real challenge when it comes to telling a story. There’s also the suggestion that he would remake famous scenes from his own films — but that might not be quite as interesting.

The movie is being produced by Scorsese‘s Sikelia Productions and von Trier‘s documentary company Zentropa Real. Shooting is apparently commencing next year, after Scorsese gets done with Silence, the Jesuit priest drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Like everyone else with a beating cinematic pulse, I’m very, very curious about how this will all turn out, and if either filmmaker gets anything out of it.

While The Five Obstructions was an interesting experiment and is certainly worth watching (which you can do on Netflix), I also feel as if it didn’t have much of big end result for either of the people involved. Then again, maybe the presence of someone who has more recognizable and influential work will make it a more interesting experience. Either way, this is something to be excited about.

Do you think Scorsese and von Trier will make a good duo for a Five Obstructions remake? What do you think will be the subject this time around?


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