Posted Dec 13 2015

The Forbidden Room -This Montage Doesn't Rock - It Pummels

Dir: Guy Maddin

Starring Roy Dupuis, Udo Kier, Mathieu Amairic, Gerlandine Chaplin, Clara Furey, Charlotte Rampling

We here at lastword once had dinner with Guy Maddin. He was deeply intense, and quietly humorous in equal measure, and at times downright confounding and oblique. Much like his latest movie. (Much like most of his movies, really.)

The Forbidden Room is a melange of montage, awash with an abundance of formal technique and a deeply old-fashioned low fi feel of something cobbled together in the loosest of manner. It starts with a lecture on how to take a bath, features such events as Squid Theft and Bladder Slapping, finds a lumberjack somehow appear on a doomed explosive deep sea submarine and then enter a fairy tale in search of a beautiful amnesiac woman. And then it throws all that out the window and goes somewhere else…Many places in fact. It is fair to say that Maddin’s lengthy film is an exercise in surrealism and structure, with a deliberately overwhelming bombardment of imagery, owing much to silent cinema with his use of allegedly amusing title cards and filters and, well, little more.

The Forbidden Room may seek to overwhelm but its effect is so akin to a bludgeoning that it has the opposite effect. Maddin is clearly indulging himself, and, it would appear, enjoying himself. But for others, the intended “experience” may well be something of a trial.


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