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The Forbidden Room

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Canada · 2015
2h 8m
Director Evan Johnson
Starring Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Udo Kier
Genre Mystery, Drama, Comedy, Romance

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.

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What are critics saying?


Screen International by

The Forbidden Room is a tour de force that takes Maddin’s ambition through a maze of magical melodrama.


Slant Magazine by Carson Lund

Its utter indulgence in esoterica paradoxically leaves it most vulnerable to the beating heart of this great artist of self-therapy.


Variety by Dennis Harvey

Delightful and ingenious as much of this is on a moment-to-moment basis, it becomes somewhat wearying over the long haul.


The Guardian by Jordan Hoffman

Maddin’s zeal for old cameras and stocks is matched only by his revelry in evoking an entire genre with a single image. The film’s apogee literally opens up The Book of Climax in a sequence of pure, knowing cinematic joy. Film-lovers, this ludicrous movie is for you.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

For those attuned to Maddin’s goofy sense of humor, it’s easily the funniest movie he’s ever made—a series of several dozen comic shorts strung together on a ludicrous clothesline. The only downside is that the experience, at just shy of two hours, can be a trifle exhausting.


CineVue by Patrick Gamble

The Forbidden Room (2015) is Maddin's aesthetic nearing critical mass, a whimsical, genre-spanning opus that demonstrates the totality of his enigmatic style.


The Playlist by Rodrigo Perez

The Forbidden Room is a cinephile’s delight, another Maddin dream fantasia that’s visually distressed, suffused in feverish melodrama, and strangely poetic. Surrender yourself to its demented genius. The Forbidden Room will trap you in its bewitching spell, and you’ll be better for it.


Village Voice by Scott Tobias

The experience is two-thirds thrilling to one-third enervating, a winning ratio for what's essentially a tightly curated anthology film.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

On one viewing, at least, it is a typically impenetrable Maddin film: zany one minute, pompous the next. Ardent Maddin admirers, of whom I am not one, might discern a grand design of what often feels like a post-Freudian horror comedy.


The Hollywood Reporter by Todd McCarthy

With no through-story or strong continuity to hold it together, the film does go on a bit and becomes repetitive; it's hard to remain stimulated by the same techniques, however imaginative, at such length without some connective dramatic tissue.... Still, for cinephiles and aficionados of the singular, The Forbidden Room represents a very particular kind of feast.

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