The Perfect Human

The Perfect Human
Documentary, Experimental

An elegant and humorous film-in the guise of a serious anthropological treatise-spotlights “The Perfect Human”, a model of the modern Dane created by our wishful thinking.

The Man (Claus Nissen) and The Woman (Majken Algren Nielsen) are in an empty white room with only the essential props for each scene.

A bed, bedding, a table, chairs. “We are going to see the perfect human being in action”, we hear, and Leth’s voice puts descriptive or puzzled words to the little actions the film exhibits: the man touches his face investigatively, fills a pipe, cuts his nails, and gets undressed, but he does peculiar things, too: he jumps as if he is weightless, snaps his fingers in strange ways, and dances with exaggerated movements and no music.

“Today, too, I had an experience that I hope I shall understand in a few days’ time”, he ponders. The whole film is staged with great clarity in its picture compositions with several characteristic zooms to indicate the bodily parts of the perfect human being, and emphasis on the light, boundless nothingness of the room. The soundtrack reveals tones of a clarinet touching on the stylistically consistent visuals.

Directed by Jørgen Leth / Denmark / 1967

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