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The Forbidden Room2015

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  • 4.0
Guy Maddin's ultimate epic phantasmagoria is THE FORBIDDEN ROOM. Honoring classic cinema while electrocuting it with energy, this Russian nesting doll of a film begins (after a prologue on how to take a bath) with the crew of a doomed submarine chewing flapjacks in a desperate attempt to breathe the oxygen within. Suddenly, impossibly, a lost woodsman wanders into their company and tells his tale of escaping from a fearsome clan of cave dwellers. From here, Maddin and co-director Evan Johnson take us high into the air, around the world, and into dreamscapes, spinning tales of amnesia, captivity, deception and murder, skeleton women and vampire bananas. Playing like some glorious meeting between Italo Calvino, Sergei Eisenstein and a perverted six year-old child, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is Maddin's grand ode to lost cinema. Created with the help of master poet John Ashbery, the film features Mathieu Amalric, Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Adele Haenel, Amira Casar and Elina Lowensohn as a cavalcade of misfits, thieves and lovers, all joined in the joyful delirium of the kaleidoscopic viewing experience.

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"We talk about movies being dreamlike, but this is ridiculous. THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is often maddening, occasionally beautiful, and ultimately unforgettable." - Bilge Ebiri, Toronto Star


7 members like this review

Maddin & Johnson's phantasmagoric film is a beguiling, frightening, hilarious hopscotch through early cinema history that barrels through a series of inventively conceived and gorgeously envisioned short films with a fever dream logic that offers only the barest connective threads, abandoning narrative consistency and driving forward on the euphoric energy of the joy and madness of the filmmakers' creativity.

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Member Reviews (28)

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top reviewer

Maddin & Johnson's phantasmagoric film is a beguiling, frightening, hilarious hopscotch through early cinema history that barrels through a series of inventively conceived and gorgeously envisioned short films with a fever dream logic that offers only the barest connective threads, abandoning narrative consistency and driving forward on the euphoric energy of the joy and madness of the filmmakers' creativity.

7 members like this review
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totally insane brilliant wonderful film_really magic & bizarre

4 members like this review
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A perfect way to describe Maddin with as few words as possible!

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Shockingly dense with invention; a Russian nesting doll of ideas. Thrilling.

3 members like this review

Adorably incoherent, with elliptical narratives that return like forgotten comets and an ever-expanding cavalcade of art house stars.

2 members like this review
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this film is such a rich spectacle, with so many dazzling levels and elments, that the skeleton of a story that connects the many pieces like a thread of pearls from different oysters can be forgiven if one has the inclination to appreciate it. an homage to film as art in its early forms.

1 member likes this review

I must agree with many of the reviews here that this is overlong without much in the way of narrative or characters. But I've never seen any feature create a dream state like Guy does here. Also very impressive technically for the way the film itself seems to throb on the screen. For features, Guy's best features all have a stronger narrative - The Saddest Music in the World, My Winnipeg, and Cowards Bend the Knee. His best shorts are My Dad is 100 Years Old, The Heart of the World and Nude Caboose.

1 member likes this review

Like a bunch of old Hollywood ghosts sharing their memories in a morphing experience of sight and sound. It's just incredible!

1 member likes this review

Hard on the eyeballs. The effect on the mind is profound.

1 member likes this review

I usually like Guy Maddin's projects and I respect the experimental/art films. This feels like the directors had too much free time on their hands but apparently other people liked it so see for yourself!

UPDATE: There's nothing to do with Italo Calvino's work nor Eisenstein. This name dropping is quite an unfair way of appealing to the cult movie crowd.

1 member likes this review

So many colliding ideas, images and yes, gags. It left me feeling like I had ingested a really unusual and interesting hallucinogen.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

"Dreams! Visions! Madness!" ...Oh, and how to take a proper bath. Guy Maddin and Evan Johnsons' strange film is close to epic in both experimentation and surrealism.

Odd, perverse, beautiful, creepy, hysterical and unique from the beginning to the a strange end -- this may be Maddin's most unrestrained film. It twists, molds, melts and oozes without pause.

An awesome visionary work of demented genius.

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What does this all mean? i am so vexed!

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3 ½ Everything Guy Maddin does is beautiful and fascinating, but two hours is a long time to hold interest without engaging characters or story, and the brilliant visuals seemed repetitive after about ninety minutes. The woodsman and submarine tales were just not interesting. Not my favorite Maddin madness.

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top reviewer

Forgive me, but really? This film tries way too hard. It feels like one of those projects by a senior college student necessary to graduate. So clever, so artistic, so bullshit. .....next.....

Lavishly, stylishly disturbing, discordant, and intriguing.

GRANDIOSA Y FANTÁSTICA PELÍCULA! Guy Maddin mezcla con humor y maestría cine silente y cine experimental.. Y BRAHMS!

Very inventive, fun, humorous, dark and not without heart. This is the sort of film that throws open the doors of the Underworld and invites in the viewer.

Once you get past the visual extravagances all you get is cheap and not very amusing irony.

I generally do not like cult films. This was no exception. But it was bizarre enough to somehow keep me watching. I did have to watch it in pieces over two nights to get through it. Much of it is creepy. Some parts were aesthetically pleasing to me.

You either dig Maddin or you don't. I dig is style very much and think it's one of his most accomplished films. Maddin madness overflows...just what my year in film needed.

4 1/2 Stars - Guy Maddin's The Forbidden Room is either a work of genius or a work of insanity. And I challenge anyone to attempt to explain the difference. It is oddly retro in its presentation yet modern in its design, being one of the most visually interesting films I've seen in quite a while. The narrative can be puzzling at the start, but a viewer is gradually drawn into the story (or actually, stories) and the structure becomes more clear as the film progresses. (Readers of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas will better understand how the film is structured.) Even the acting style seems old-fashioned until you realize how well it fits into the overall feel of the film. This film is highly recommended for the adventurous cinephile. If you like your movies with plot and character, you might be disappointed. If you like your films to be intellectually and visually stimulating, this one's right up your alley.

This film would not download more than a minute of content at a time so we turned it off.

A nesting doll had sex with a film camera. Had great sense of space, pace and humor.

Sublimely ridiculous and beautiful We are in Maddin world and there is no other like it.

amazing

Not my kind of movie - sorry.

If, as the critic Harold Bloom says, that "The essential element of Genius is strangeness," then this is surely a work of surpassing Genius.

I really like Guy Maddin but this one simply can't sustain the two hour runtime successfully, Dang, that's a lot of s sounds.