the film the five obstructions is a study in the rules of engagement for artmaking. This is a collaborative work where Lars von Trier sets up new rules for Jørgen Leth in the remake of his film The Perfect Human. The five experiments von Trier sets up investigate the nature of methodologies. His rules for the First Obstruction seem almost sadistic:
(1) No edit longer than 12 frames
(2)To be shot in a place the director has never been
(3) No Set
(4)and the questions (rhetorical) have to be answered
Von Trier is displacing Leth, putting him in alien surroundings, refusing to let him do long, sensual shots that the populated the original film. The rules seem antagonistic to Leth and viewer, we see Leth wrestle with the absurdity. Leth's response is abeautifull sensual film of texture and visual pleasure. In fact Leth makes four gorgeous films no matter the absurdity of the rules.
Von Trier's experiments/tortures reveal that in fact that by setting a few parameters for a project, one can free many unknowns and foster the creative process.