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The Forbidden Room

This screening took place on
Friday, February 12, 2016 at 9:30pm
Yukon Arts Centre

THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is Guy Maddin’s ultimate epic phantasmagoria. 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 Roy Dupius, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Mathieu Amalric, , Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Adèle Haenel, Amira Casar, Elina Löwensohn and Udo Kier (and more!) as a cavalcade of misfits, thieves and lovers, all joined in the joyful delirium of the kaleidoscopic viewing experience.

“Guy Maddin’s work has always been driven by a deep-seated love of sub-genres from cinema’s past, the stranger and more obscure the better. This is especially apparent in The Forbidden Room, co-directed by Evan Johnson. An intoxicating tour of surreal set pieces — from a trapped submarine crew forced to eat flapjacks because they hold oxygen, to an Expressionist music video featuring Udo Kier as a man fatally obsessed with women’s backsides — Maddin’s latest is a paean to movies lost, forgotten, or never made. There’s also an art-film lover’s dream cast: icons Geraldine Chaplin and Charlotte Rampling; some of Quebec’s best actors (Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, 2014 TIFF Rising Star Sophie Desmarais, Karine Vanasse); European stars Mathieu Amalric and Maria de Medeiros; and indefatigable Maddin regular Louis Negin. Each new “room” is as depraved, sinful, beautiful, wild, and wondrous as the last, as if the movie was designed to give prudish censors a never-ending string of coronaries.”

—Steve Gravestock, Canada’s Top Ten

  • Directed by Guy Maddin, co-directed by Evan Johnson
  • 2015, Canada
  • 118 minutes
    The Forbidden Room

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