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The Forbidden Room (2015)


3/10: Maddin's most impenetrable yet
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Canadian director Guy Maddin may be one of cinema's foremost practitioners of arty-fartiness, but he's certainly attracted some big names to appear in 'The Forbidden Room': Louis Negin (a Maddin regular), Roy Dupuis, Charlotte Rampling, Mathieu Amalric, Geraldine Chaplin, Udo Kier... I wonder how many of them understood the film? I certainly didn't, but then, I'm not sure Maddin is terribly bothered what the audience think.The plot, such as it is, features a crew on a doomed submarine who are suddenly joined by a lumberjack. The question of how the lumberjack got on the submarine is never answered; instead he begins telling his story, which starts with a beautiful woman being kidnapped by a finger-snappin', bladder-beatin' tribe of cavemen and grows, in incomprehensible fashion, to include a man who murders his butler to cover up his own failure to remember his wife's birthday; an aviatrix who finds herself accused of squidnapping...

1/10: The Forbidden Fruit
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Despite having seen him mentioned a number of times,I've never found a good "entry point" to start with looking at the work of film maker Guy Maddin.Getting the wonderful chance to host an event on IMDb's Film Festival board,I was intrigued to find that a Maddin title had been nominated for viewing,which led to me stepping into the forbidden room.The outline of the movie:The film is based around short unrelated sketches that merge into each other with barely any connection. One of the stories involves a submarine crew eating flapjacks in order to get extra air from the air holes,who are left breathless,when a mysterious woodsmen is found in a dock,who has no idea how he got there.View on the film:Based on "lost" films which Maddin believed would only be seen if he made re-made them himself,Maddin and editor John Gurdebeke work closely together to...

8/10: Poetic like a Thomas Bernhard novel
Sunday, March 13, 2016

I realize that a lot of people are going to be put off by the abstract, artistic nature of this film. But what it lacks in cohesion, it more than makes up for in style - similar to poetry, this film is very expressive and doesn't follow any particular norms for film making. It's very visually striking, and for me this was a large part of the enjoyment. Although it has references to films from the silent film era, this film doesn't necessarily keep to a specific style. At times it is sensual and erotic, at other times it's violent and shocking. I believe the intent was to adhere to a certain randomness in both the events portrayed, as well as the tone and visual style; this makes the film follow a seemingly arbitrary path. To me it was visually beautiful and compelling, and I never lost interest. I was impressed by how ambitious it was, with...

10/10: Non-Linear Masterpiece
Monday, September 28, 2015

OK, if you hate the way Yorgos Lanthimos just terminates movies right before the dénouement, or if you kinda hated how nonsensical Mullholland Drive was (please, just watch it again, really), The Forbidden Room is not recommended viewing. This is a movie for people who are in love with the visual art-form of cinema, the technical history of it (especially full-colour processing), and who have an absolute love of classic pre-code movies. And those who may have accidentally tried a cup of mushroom tea. There is no linear story arc, but there are many snippets of a beautifully reimagined bygone age. Don't be afraid. It's super-watchable and actually has some high-brow humour in it, It has Charlotte Rampling and the utterly fantastic Louis Negin, and the visual film treatments are just unbelievable. This is a movie for all levels of consciousness simultaneously. I have to give this movie a 10 because for me...

8/10: A journey to the center of film
Thursday, January 29, 2015

This film, like all those of Guy Maddin, has married the weirdness of David Lynch with the love of film and quirkiness of Wes Anderson, all wrapped up in a unique visual style like no other. It's absolutely gorgeous, a true adventure in filmmaking and film watching filled with dreams- within-dreams and stories-within-stories. It is like a love letter to the history of movies that blends silent films, noir, action, myth, comedy, musicals, and even instructional films into an absurd, self-referential ball.But before you go running out to see it, you should know that it has zero interest in entertaining you. Seriously. It's dense, confusing and difficult to follow, and a tedious slog. There's no plot, if by plot you mean something that will emotionally resonate with you and keep you engaged with following the story or characters. Viewers should be the kind of masochist film geeks who enjoy subjecting themselves to...

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