In spring 2012, a large crew with 17 cameras was on the spot for the world's toughest one-day bike race, the Paris-Roubaix challenge in France. The crew was led by Brendt Barbur, creator of the New York Bicycle Film Festival, and legendary documentarian Albert Maysles, who were shooting a crowd-funded project called "The Commentator". The film will follow Jørgen Leth as he comments on the gruelling race, thereby tracing the story back to Leth's pioneering 1977 documentary classic, "A Sunday in Hell".
What is the attraction?
Jørgen Leth, who turned 75 this summer, continues to draw new audiences and inspire new generations of filmmakers. His latest film "Erotic Man" came out in 2010, and since the early 1960s he has directed over 40 films, written a shelf full of poetry, essays, non-fiction books, plus radio and television drama, and he has been a popular cycling commentator on Danish television for two decades.
So, what is the attraction of Leth? Is it the sense of timelessness radiating from his lifelong poetic investigations into the nature of sports, art, sensuality, women or life in general? Is it his dandyish attitude and his love of surfaces, which to him hold great meaning? Is it his dynamic creativity and uncompromising honesty?
Exhibition with films and poetry readings
Now audiences in Amsterdam will have a chance to decide for themselves. "My Name Is Jørgen Leth", a retrospective exhibition held during the IDFA festival, gives audiences an opportunity to experience the breadth of Leth's artistic practice and his lifelong engagement in various art disciplines.
Leth's classic "A Sunday in Hell" is among the films showcased in the exhibition which features a cross-section of the filmmaker's cinematic work. The film programme also features "Haïti. Untitled", "66 Scenes from America", "The Perfect Human", "The Five Obstructions" and "Life in Denmark", projected in the exhibition space in a continuous loop. As a special event during the exhibition, Leth will be reciting a selection of his poems to a live audience.
In addition, Leth is serving as a member of this year's official IDFA festival jury.
LIFE IN DENMARK / 1972
A legendary film by Jørgen Leth, where the director presents an idiosyncratic catalogue of life in Denmark. A number of Danes are invited into a black space to make small, edited versions of their own personal or professional lives. We meet a number of unmarried women from a country town, a farmer, a traffic cop, a singing boy, Leth's own family – and among the more absurd elements these four naked poets taking up position in the empty space. Foto: Vibeke Winding