How can you knock the chance to watch Udo Kier have multiple brain surgeries for his derriere dependence? Or the shot to experience the languid afterlife of a few stray mustache hairs? And what about the opportunity to contemplate the oxygen levels of flapjacks? You really can't, and Guy Maddin's latest ode to the ticklish underbelly of film archival offers all of that and more, so very very much much more. The Forbidden Room presents itself as a series of nested-doll silent films, fanning in and out of each other at rhythm's whim, and structurally it's audacious stuff with a trance-like atmosphere. You hear the drums, drums against the air, you feel the drums, you feel the air. There simply is nothing else like this, no other movie experience that will roll you around under and inside of this exact dream.
Perhaps the closest thing I've experienced, the most similar singular sensation, (besides other bits of Maddin's own work, of course) was portions of David Lynch's Inland Empire, but Maddin is Lynch's looser trickster double - Guy will always reach for the fart joke if handy. The Forbidden Room is ultimately too much of a too-much-thing, but also like Inland Empire its mind-numbing length and, uh, girth, is intentional - how better to sand off the edges of your audience's eye-line and sink them truly and completely under your spell? The outside world, like centenarian film-stock, dissolves in acid-hued pools right around you. Outside world? What outside world? We are all film down here. And by the time you stumble out of The Forbidden Room you're probably gonna be seeing inter-titles when you try to speak.
The Forbidden Room opens in extremely limited release in one week