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forbidden_room_ver3THE FORBIDDEN ROOM

Written and Directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson

Starring Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, and Mathieu Amalric

One cannot simply sit and watch a Guy Maddin film; a Maddin film is something you experience. His latest film THE FORBIDDEN ROOM (co-directed with Evan Johnson) is no exception.

There really is not much of a consistent plot line throughout the film. Instead, Maddin and Johnson present what appears to be a series of dreams, or perhaps nightmares. The ten-or-so segments are presented like a silent-film gone wrong. With hues switching drastically, broken title-cards and oddly poetic dialogue, there is not much sense to be found in THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, which is perhaps part of the fun. To get any enjoyment from the film, viewers will simply have to kick back and take it in. Do not try and follow the story, a task which a quite difficult. This is certainly not helped by the fact that many of the stars – including Charlotte Rampling, Mathieu Amalric, and Udo Kier – make brief appearances in multiple roles. Those among you with the driest of humours will surely find much of the film’s absurdity hilarious, but most will take it for what it is, absurd. At nearly two hours in length, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM becomes rather exhausting. Madden and co. can keep up the ruse for a while, but eventually with little to grab onto, many will lose interest.


Even those that do not get on board with what Maddin is trying to do must at least applaud his effort. From a technical perspective, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is quite stunning. Maddin’s experimentation with different cameras and film stocks makes for a visual feast, which is largely what makes the film watchable at all.

In hindsight, THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is a tough film to decode. Laughter and applause eventually turn into glances down at the watch, making for an ultimately bittersweet viewing experience. The film is sure to turn off most, but those who are able to surrender themselves to it completely will have one hell of a time.

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