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Jorgen Leth

Jørgen Leth

Danemark / Website


Jørgen Leth was born 1937 in Århus, Denmark. He studied literature and anthropology in Aarhus and Copenhagen and was a cultural critic (jazz, theatre, film) for leading Danish newspapers from 1959 to 1968. His interest in Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski had a profound influence on his work. He travelled in Africa (1961), South America and India (1966) and Southeast Asia (1970–71). His first book was published in 1962 and he has written 10 volumes of poetry and eight non-fiction books. He made his first film in 1963 and has since made 40 more, many distributed worldwide. His most acclaimed is a 1967 short, The Perfect Human, which also featured in the 2003 film The Five Obstructions made by Leth and Lars von Trier. Leth's sports documentaries bring an epic, almost mythic, dimension to the field, as seen in Stars and Watercarriers/Stjernerne og Vandbærerne (1973) and A Sunday in Hell/En forårsdag i helvede (1977).
He has been a creative consultant for the Danish Film Institute (1971–73, 1975–77) as well as chairman of the Institute's board (1977–82). He has also been a professor at the Danish National Film School in Copenhagen, at the State Studiocenter in Oslo and has lectured at UCLA, Berkeley, Harvard and other American universities.
Leth covered the Tour de France for Denmark's TV 2 from 1988 until 2005 as the expert commentator in partnership with journalist Jørn Mader. In 1999, he was appointed Danish honorary consul in Haiti. He has lived in Jacmel, Haiti since 1991.
You can see Truls Lie's film The Seduced Human about Leth at DAFilm.com


Stopforbud/ Stop for Bud (12´, Denmark, 1963)
Se frem til en tryg tid/ Look Forward to a Time of Security (10´, Denmark, 1964)
Det perfekte menneske/ The Perfect Human (12´, Denmark, 1967)
Ofelias blomster/ Ophelia's Flowers (7´, Denmark, 1968)
Nar himlen, nar jorden/ Near Heaven, Near Earth - together with Ole John (26´, Denmark, 1968)
Jens Otto Krag (18´, Denmark, 1969)
Dyrehavefilmen/ The Deer Garden (5´, Denmark, 1969)
Motion Picture (20´, Denmark, 1970)
Eftersogningen/ The Search (36´, Denmark, 1970)
Dyrehaven: Den romantiske skov/ The Deer Garden: The Romantic Forest - with Per Kirkeby (39´,
enmark, 1970)
Frandelos/ Without Kin (66´, Denmark, 1970)
Livet i Danmark/ Life in Denmark (Denmark, 1971)
Kinesisk bordtennis/ Chinese Ping-Pong (14´, Denmark, 1972)
Eddy Merckx i narheden af en kop kaffe/ Eddy Merckx in the Vicinity of a Cup of Coffee (29´,
enmark, 1973)
Stjernerne og vandbarerne/ The Stars and the Water Carriers (91´, Denmark, 1974)
Klaus Rifbjerg (22´, Denmark, 1974)
Den umulige time/ The Impossible Hour (45´, Denmark, 1974)
Det gode og det onde/ The Good and the Bad (78´, Denmark, 1975)
En forårsdag i Helvede/ A Sunday in Hell (111´, Denmark, 1976)
Kalule (57´, Denmark, 1979)
At danse Bournonville (52´, Denmark, 1979)
Step on Silence (58´, Denmark/USA, 1982)
66 scener fra Amerika/ 66 Scenes from America (42´, Denmark, 1982)
Udenrigskorrespondenten/ Haiti Express (105´, Denmark, 1983)
Notater fra Kina/ Notebook from China (79´, Denmark, 1986)
Det legende menneske/ Moments of Play (77´, Denmark, 1986)
Notater om kærligheden/ Notes on Love (91´, Denmark, 1989)
Traberg (90´, Denmark, 1992)
Michael Laudrup - en fodboldspiller/ Michael Laudrup: A Football Player (74´, Denmark, 1993)
Haiti. Uden titel/ Haiti. Untitled (82´, Denmark, 1996)
Jeg er levende - Søren Ulrik Thomsen, digter/ I Am Alive (40´, Denmark, 1999)
Drømmere/ Dreamers (58´, Denmark, 2002)
Nye scener fra Amerika/ New Scenes from America (35´, Denmark, 2003)
De fem benspænd/ The Five Obstructions (90´, Denmark/Belgium/France/Switzerland, 2003)
Aarhus (28´, Denmark, 2005)
Det Meste Af Tiden (10, Denmark, 2009)
Erotic Man (85, Denmark, 2010)
Jeg taler til jer - John Kørners verden/I Am Talking To You (57', Denmark, 2013)


Chinese Ping Pong

Chinese Ping Pong (Orig.) / 1972 / Danemark / 14 min

Film footage in black and white and colour of some of the best table tennis players in the world has been roughly assembled with no apparent attempt to present clear sequences from matches...



Life in Denmark

Life in Denmark (Orig.) / 1972 / Danemark / 37 min

Almost 100 Danes -including a cyclist, a minister of finances, a popular actress and 13 single women from province - try to convey a realistic impression of Denmark, different from the usual view as a little, exotic and strange country.



Notebook From China

Notebook From China (Orig.) / 1987 / Danemark / 79 min

In 1984 Jørgen Leth, cinematographer Dan Holmberg and sound recordist Niels Torp travelled some 6,000 kilometres by train through China...




Pelota (Orig.) / 1983 / Danemark / 47 min

A classical documentary about pelota, the Basque ball game. The film consists of several elegantly interlaced layers, with the manufacture of a pelota ball as the narrative framework...



The Impossible Hour

The Impossible Hour (Orig.) / 1974 / Danemark / 45 min

In continuation of the time trial sequence from Stars and Watercarriers, The Impossible Hour is a concentrated study of Ole Ritter's attempt in Mexico City in 1974 to set a new record for the hour - described in the film as "the noblest, most difficult record that can be set on a bicycle".


66 _scenes_From_America_1

66 Scenes From America

66 Scenes From America (Orig.) / 1982 / Danemark / 39 min

Paysages, villes, personnes, motels, "dîners", autoroutes… Un cactus, un réfrigérateur, la Bannière étoilée…



A Sunday in Hell

A Sunday in Hell (Orig.) / 1977 / Danemark / 111 min

Le cinéaste et poète Jørgen Leth est aussi un passionné de course cycliste, qu’il considère comme l’expression rituelle de la victoire ou de la défaite humaine...



Good and Evil

Good and Evil (Orig.) / 1975 / Danemark / 81 min

Jørgen Leth décrit son film comme un collage, un catalogue de vie ou encore une comédie surréaliste. Multiforme, il ne ressemble à aucun autre...



Haiti. Untitled

Haiti. Untitled (Orig.) / 1996 / Danemark / 78 min

Ecrivain et cinéaste Jørgen Leth observe avec fascination les événements dans un pays où la réalité se transforme souvent en un rêve et ressemble plutôt à une histoire fictionnelle...



Moments of Play

Moments of Play (Orig.) / 1986 / Danemark / 82 min

Tourné dans des pays aussi différents que Bali, le Brésil, la Chine, le Danemark, la Grande-Bretagne, Haïti, l'Espagne et les Etats-Unis, "Moments of play "est une variation sur le thème du jeu chez les enfants comme chez les adultes...



Notes on Love

Notes on Love (Orig.) / 1989 / Danemark / 87 min

Le film a été fait pendant une époque où Jørgen Leth éprouvait une crise dans sa vie, et son ton est donc sombre et très personnel...



The Perfect Human

The Perfect Human (Orig.) / 1967 / Danemark / 13 min

Ce film primé avec lequel Leth avait percé est une étude anthropologique sensible du caractère humain...



20th Jihlava IDFF is worth visiting

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Jihlava, Or 20 Years of Documentary in Bohemia

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From October 25 to 30, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival will see its 20th anniversary edition. Look forward to the opulent programme in eight screening halls!

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