The Forbidden Room Review

Canada, 2015

Length 130 mins.
Playing at: Vancity Theatre
Showtimes & Tickes Link

Review by Lucia Santiago Dantés

Guy Maddin returns this year, with “The Forbidden Room” a surrealistic, insane story but like his other movies unforgettable. This time Maddin teams up with director Evan Johnson to bring us a film like only a few masters of surrealism would dare. The Forbidden Room is like a Matryoshka nesting doll of stories visually told on a retro style kind of film although it is shot digital, the result is superb. Beginning with a man teaching us the proper way to take a bath, the threat that stitch the stories is about a submarine crew trying to survive the lack of oxygen chewing slapjacks, while suddenly a woodsman enters the submarine trapped under water for months. How did he get there? not even him knows; but suddenly the story turns into Cesare  the woodsman (Roy Dupuis) who is looking for Margot (Clara Furey) who was kidnapped by some wolfmen tribe. Cesare tries to rescue her, and more stories come along the way as the terrified crew make their way to the corridors of the submarine finding out more stories related or not with the ship. Some scenes are hilarious and that’s the way it’s intended. Some others are related with vampires and ghouls, the Oedipus Complex and stories which seems to be taken out from a delirious feverish dream. All the stories are capricious as dreams often do. But the atmosphere created by Maddin and johnson is simply the best I’ve seen in years. Technically speaking The Forbidden Room look like old found footage, some stories are Black ad White, and some others in vintage movie color. As if we were transported in time but at the same time remembering an old film we watched years ago, ending up in the same result: remembering only intercut parts of it. Surrealism and Formalism are combined in this set of stories as Maddin and Johnson play with the oneiric scenes like the sequence of a man who lives in an elevator,  who committed a crime, but  after the detective arrives the elevator ends up in the penthouse where his happy birthday floor saves him.

The film although surrealistic has its own logic and Maddin & Johnson achieve to close all the character circles in their own surrealistic terms.  The Forbidden Room is definitely worth watching and as Jonathan Hatfull (SciFi Now)  nails it “The Forbidden Room is hard to explain, but impossible to forget”

The Forbidden Room had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015

Created with the help of master poet John Ashbery, the film features Roy Dupius, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Mathieu Amalric, , Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Adèle Haenel, Amira Casar, Elina Löwensohn and Udo Kier



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s