The Perfect Human (Det Perfekte Menneske)

Jørgen Leth (Denmark)

Galata Greek Primary School

“Suspended in a seemingly endless white space, the interactions of [a] couple are meticulously dissected. The ‘perfect humans’ … are identified as human only through the objects and rituals that define themselves and their intimate relationship. Basic human actions — smoking, dancing, eating — are seen to be anchored to a constellation of articles and practices that we have surrounded ourselves with. Even when the couple ultimately undress to make love, they are still entangled in a sea of ‘fresh, fragrant sheets’ over a ‘soft, springy mattress.’ The notions of human and design appear inseparable at all times… Clipping one’s nails with a nail-clipper, shaving one’s beard with foam and razor, applying blush with a brush are all daily small actions that make humans; actions of constant redesign to reach moments of fleeting ‘perfection.’” –EK

The Perfect Human (Det Perfekte Menneske) is a short film classic written and directed by Danish director Jørgen Leth in 1967. The 12-minute experimental film presents a series of abstract episodes in the life of a well-dressed couple — a man and a woman — as “perfect” specimens of the human species. The film “objectively” documents the couple’s anatomy, their physical capabilities and their “perfect functioning.” It is as if design is what ultimately makes humans “perfect.”