The Forbidden Room

Guy Maddin's The Forbidden Room plays like a super cut of films from different countries, genres, and eras (but mostly the late 1920s and early 1930s). Using title cards, on-screen text in varying fonts, German Expressionist lighting, Soviet-style montage, and artificially aged digital imagery, he constructs a labyrinthine narrative that doubles as a sort of miniature film festival.

It's a lot to take in at once, but it's a Maddin picture through and through, even though it actually represents a collaboration with Evan Johnson. Sometimes, midway through their career, a restless filmmaker will make one film that feels like a culmination of every one they've ever made before. It's a way to revisit their past before moving on to something new. For Martin Scorsese, that film was Casino. For Wong Kar-wai, it was 2046. And for Guy Maddin, it's The Forbidden Room, his own unique version of a greatest-hits collection.

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