January 2016

"The Forbidden Room"

by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, opens April 07, 2016

A submarine in distress, a lumberjack who mysteriously appears to the crew – wasn’t he just in the dark forests of Holstein-Schleswig rescuing the beautiful Margot from the claws of the Red Wolves? A neurosurgeon who digs deeply into the brain of a manic patient; a murderer who pretends to be the victim of his own killings; a traumatised young woman "on the Deutsch-Kolumbianisch Express somewhere between Berlin and Bogota"; seductive skeletons, zeppelins colliding, and a hot bath that seems to have triggered the whole thing. Guy Maddin’s rampant, anarchic film, co-directed by Evan Johnson, resembles an apparently chaotic, yet always significant eroto-claustrophobic nightmare that never seems to want to end, in which the plot, characters and locations constantly flow into one another in truly enigmatic style. The countless fantastic plotlines are structured like the intertwined arms of a spiral nebula – all of them inspired by real, imaginary and photographic memories of films from the silent era now lost, to which the half-damaged nitrate print aesthetic also pays fabulous homage. (Forum catalog, Christoph Terhechte)

Guy Maddin on his film: Stay safe!
We just have too much narrative in our heads, so much that we feel our brains are going to explode. With this film, we set out to create a controlled setting, an elaborate narrative network of subterranean locks, sluice gates, chambers, trap pipes, storm sew - ers and spelunking caves where all the past, present and future films in our large heads might safely blow! Where no one will be hurt by the spectacular Two-Strip Technicolor havoc we’ll wreak on the screen, knowing the whole thing will drain away by credit roll. Stay safe and enjoy!

Various Press:
"Guy Maddin's wild, delirious tribute to classic cinema… A breathless phantasmagoria whose narrative labyrinth and intricate visual effects combine to create a film that appears to defy convention at every turn." Aubrey Page, indiewire.com

"Guy Maddin goes through the looking glass, down the rabbit hole, into the twilight zone, beyond the great divide or maybe just deep into the nooks and crannies of his own two-strip Technicolor imagination in The Forbidden Room… Subsequent episodes come and go as if in a fabricated fever dream that slips in and out between black-and-white and early color, immaculate images and damaged ones, brilliance and triteness. Out of nowhere come passages featuring parachuting onto an erupting volcanic island, a squid thief, a doctor imprisoned by women in skeleton outfits, Udo Keir getting a lobotomy to cure his butt-pinching habit and a typical silent film blind mother. Among the recognizable actors who turn up, some of them in multiple roles, are Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Francois Stevenin, Maria de Medeiros and Elina Lowensohn." Todd McCarthy, hollywoodreporter.com

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1956. He studied economics at the University of Winnipeg. He is an autodidact and shot his first short film, The Dead Father, in 1985. Maddin is an installation artist, screenwriter, cinematographer and filmmaker. He has also mounted numerous live performance versions of his films around the world, featuring live music, sound effects, singing and narration. Films: 1985: The Dead Father (26 min.). 1988: Tales from the Gimli Hospital (72 min.). 1989: Mauve Decade (7 min.). 1990: Archangel (90 min.). 1991: Indigo High-Hatters (34 min.). 1992: Careful (100 min.). 1993: The Pomps of Satan (5 min.). 1995: The Hands of Ida (30 min.). 1997: Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (91 min.). 2002: Dracula – Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (73 min.). 2003: The Saddest Music in the World (100 min.). 2004: Cowards Bend the Knee (60 min.). 2005: My Dad Is 100 Years Old (16 min.). 2006: Brand Upon the Brain! (Berlinale Forum 2007, 95 min.). 2007: My Winnipeg (Berlinale Forum 2008, 80 min.). 2008: 97 Percent True (51 min.). 2009: The Little White Cloud That Cried (13 min.). 2009: Night Mayor (Berlinale Forum Expanded, 14 min.). 2011: Keyhole (94 min.). 2012: Mundo Invisível (70 min.). 2015: The Forbidden Room.

Evan Johnson has been working with Guy Maddin since 2009. Johnson lives in Winnipeg, Canada.


Canada 2015. Format: DCP, colout & black/white. Running Time: 120 Min. Language: English with German subtitles. Screenplay: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Robert Kotyk. Camera: Stephanie Weber-Biron, Ben Kasulke. Editor: John Gurdebeke. Production: Phi Films, Buffalo Gal Pictures, National Film Board of Canada. Produzenten: Phyllis Laing, Guy Maddin, David Christensen, Phoebe Greenberg, Penny Mancuso. Cast: Roy Dupius, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Maria de Medeiros, Jacques Nolot, Udo Kier. World premiere: Sundance Film Festival 2015