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457 Ratings

The Forbidden Room

Directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson
Canada, 2015
Comedy, Drama, Mystery


A submarine crew, a feared pack of forest bandits, a famous surgeon, and a battalion of child soldiers all get more than they bargained for as they wend their way toward progressive ideas on life and love.

Our take

One of cinema’s great eccentrics, Guy Maddin takes the relics of film history to peaks of delirium in The Forbidden Room, co-directed with Evan Johnson. Bizarre cinematic dreamscapes unfurl before our eyes, as interwoven stories jostle up against each other, playing out like a cinephile’s acid trip.

The Forbidden Room Directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson
Whereas Cemetery of Splendour moves at a slow, fittingly oneiric pace, Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room wildly careens from one episodic fragment of its re-imagined film history to another. Co-directed with one of Maddin’s former students, Evan Johnson, The Forbidden Room was one of the most unique, lively, and experimental titles screened at the AFF.
December 16, 2015
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As always in Maddin films, the presiding spirit is camp and crypto-gay, a colouring underlined by the presence of such actors as Udo Kier. The storylines, however, emphasise loss, bereavement, amnesia and injury, echoing the fate of the original lost films themselves. The melodramatic fragments here have little or no emotional kick, but the film as a whole delivers a febrile melancholia with gusto.
December 10, 2015
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It’s very much the kind of mind-melting opus we’ve come to expect from Canadian director Guy Maddin, whose collaboration with Evan Johnson here deserves recognition as one of the most extravagantly bizarre films ever made.
December 10, 2015
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