The fifth DVD box set in the Jørgen Leth Collection comprises the Portraits, a collective term that, with a bit of goodwill, can be stretched to cover all eight films in the set. They range far from ballet to Danish literature and sports. In this box set, we find Leth's ballet films about the dancer Peter Martins and the Bournonville steps and tradition alongside literary portraits of the Danish authors Klaus Rifbjerg and Søren Ulrik Thomsen, plus a many-headed portrait of illustrious Danish writers from H.A. Brorson to Michael Strunge, and, finally, his films about sports icons, the footballer Michael Laudrup and the boxer Ayub Kalule. In all three areas, the filmmaker strives to portray people and situations by zeroing in on the creative process itself. In fact, this could be a header for Jørgen Leth's entire work. His fascination with the creative process and an individual's work with his material, the will to transcend one's limitations to achieve the sublime, is a clear and recurrent theme. It's evident in Laudrup's virtuosic ball-handling, in Thomsen reading his poetry and elaborating on the nature of poetry and the form of poems, and in Martin using his body and intellect to translate the language of choreography into movement through space, giving shape to the sublime by putting in the hours in the rehearsal studio. The filmmaker's fascination reins him in. In the way he shapes his fascination through objective detachment and a formalist approach, we recognise the method of anthropological observation that is such a strong thread in Leth's works.
Peter Martins - en danser / Peter Martins: A Dancer - Denmark 1978 - Directed by: Jørgen Leth - Written by: Ole John, Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg - With: Peter Martins, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Stanley Williams, Suzanne FArrell, Heather Watts - Produced by: Filmselskabet
At danse Bournonville / Dancing Bournonville - Denmark 1979 - Directed by: Jørgen Leth - Written by: Ole John - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg, Jan Weincke, Mikael Salomon, Peter Klitgaard - Music by: H.S. Paulli - With: Flemming Ryberg, Henning Kronstam, Erik Bruhn, Hans Brenaa, Mette Ida Kirk - Produced by: Filmselskabet
Step on Silence - Denmark 1981 - Directed by: Jørgen Leth - Written by: Ole John, Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg - With: Peter Martins, Suzanne Farrell, Stanley Williams, Jerome Robbins, Merrill Ashley, Heather Watts - Produced by: Filmselskabet / 3 V Filmproduction
Klaus Rifbjerg - Denmark 1974 - Directed and written by: Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dirk Brüel - Music by: Kasper Winding, Bukiyamaz - With: Klaus Rifbjerg - Produced by: Minerva Film
Dansk litteratur / Danish Literature - Denmark 1989 - Directed and written by: Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg - Music by: Herman D. Koppel - With: Erik Mørk, Preben Lerdorff Rye, Jørgen Reenberg, Brigitte Price, Ulf Pilgaard, Klaus Rifbjerg, Inger Christensen, Eric Knudsen - Produced by: Columbus Film
Jeg er levende - Søren Ulrik Thomsen, digter / I'm Alive. Søren Ulrik Thomsen: A Danish Poet - Denmark 1999 - Directed and written by: Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg - Music by: Krzysztof Komeda, Randall Meyers - With: Søren Ulrik Thomsen - Produced by: Bech Film Aps
Kalule - Denmark 1979 - Directed and written by: Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Peter Roos, Mikael Salomon - With: Ayub Kalule, Borge Krogh, Richard Palladin, Sugar Ray Seales - Produced by: Ebbe Preisler Film/TV
Michael Laudrup - en fodboldspiller / Michael Laudrup: A Football Player - Denmark 1993 - Directed and written by: Jørgen Leth - Photographed by: Dan Holmberg - Music by: Randall Meyers - With: Michael Laudrup, Johan Cruyff - Produced by: zentropa Entertainments
Leth om Laudrup / Leth on Laudrup - Denmark 2007 - Directed and written by: Anders Leifer - Photographed by: Carsten Ringholm - With: Jørgen Leth - Produced by: Electric Parc
DVD features (3-disc DVD)
- Peter Daniels - en danser 1978, 54'
- At danse Bournonville 1979, 52'
- Step on Silence 1981, 58'
- Klaus Rifbjerg 1974, 22'
- Dansk litteratur 1989, 44'
- Jeg er levende - Søren Ulrik Thomsen, digter 1999, 40'
- Kalule 1979, 57'
- Michael Laudrup - en fodboldspiller 1993, 74'
- Leth om Laudrup 2008, 40'
Edited by: Danish Film Institute
DVD authoring: Electric Parc
DVD supervision: Dan Nissen, Thomas C. Christensen