On obstruction

On obstruction

“Par Achab, Maharadja d’al-kantara, va à barrabas ! scanda andras.
alas, alas ! ahana max, clamçant.”
Very short extract from Georges Pere’s lipogrammatic poetry (using no vowel except ‘A’ here…}

 

Lars von Triers’s « Five obstructions » was a really interesting discovery to me. I was already sensitive to ‘Dogme 1995′ and mainly to Vinterberg’s « Festen »: one of the most moving  film i’ve ever watched (« The Hunt » his last work, i must admit, was too disturbing  and i wasnt  even able to finish it).
What mostly interested me in Lars von Triers approach was the importance of formal constraint in Art.
Back to the 60′s, the French literary movement OULIPO was already « freeing literature by tightening its rules » as The Guardian put it in a recent article. Raymond Queneau, founder of the movement, is one of the top 5 writer in my personal Pantheon (and accidentally the co-writer of Louis Malle’s « Zazie dans le metro »). He did a very similar work to Von trier’s one, but pushes the limit a bit further in delivering his short novel « Exercises in style » in which he told the same story, taking place within a Parisian bus, 99 times, with a different literary form each time. Other poets, used the word + 7 rule, to write their poems,  in other words using the 7th following noun in the dictionary after the one they first chose. I’ve found only one other similar attempt in recent cinema: The “10, 40 and 70” rule, for film criticism, issued by Nicholas Rombes.

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