The Forbidden Room (2015 film)

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The Forbidden Room
The Forbidden Room poster.jpg
Directed by
Produced by David Christensen
Written by
Music by
  • Benjamin Kasulke
  • Stéphanie Anne Weber Biron
Edited by John Gurdebeke
Distributed by
Release date
  • 26 January 2015 (2015-01-26) (Sundance)
  • 16 September 2015 (2015-09-16) (TIFF)
  • 7 October 2015 (2015-10-07) (United States)
  • 9 October 2015 (2015-10-09) (Canada)
  • 11 December 2015 (2015-12-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
Country Canada
Language English
Box office $17,424[2]

The Forbidden Room is a 2015 Canadian romantic mystery comedy-drama film co-directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, and written by Maddin, Johnson, and Robert Kotyk. The film stars Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin, Jacques Nolot, Charlotte Rampling, Udo Kier, Gregory Hlady, Sparks[3], Mathieu Amalric, Maria de Medeiros and Geraldine Chaplin.


The film's frame story, and the narrative it returns to the most, concerns a submarine crew transporting a volatile substance that will explode if they ever resurface. As the crew struggle to survive with low oxygen levels, a woodsman (Roy Dupuis) mysteriously forces his way onto the vessel; the crew believe his sudden appearance may lead to an escape from their predicament. The men navigate a labyrinth of rooms and passageways while trying to access the captain's chamber. Along the way, they recount stories that lead to other stories, which unfold in the complex and layered manner of a Matryoshka doll. The most important of these "sub-stories" shows the woodsman and his fellow "sapling-jacks" trying to rescue a woman named Margot from depraved kidnappers. Other sub-stories involve: a surgeon kidnapped by a team of "women skeletons" who work as insurance defrauders; a madman on a train under the charge of a womanizing psychiatrist; a mustache that seeks to comfort the widow of the man whose face it used to adorn; and a doctor cursed by a bust of Janus. The submarine crew finally reach the captain's "forbidden room", only to find him incapacitated. Most of the men die of asphyxiation, but the woodsman finds that the volatile cargo has transformed into his love, Margot. A passionate kiss leads into a montage of proposed endings from "The Book of Climaxes", and an abrupt, inconclusive ending to the film itself.



The film was shot in public studios (where the public could visit and attend the film shoots) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France and the Centre PHI in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Artistic reference[edit]

Director Guy Maddin has explained the film is also an hommage to lost films in the history of cinema.


The Forbidden Room premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on 26 January 2015.[5][6][7][8] It also screened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on 16 September 2015.

The film was theatrically released in the United States on 7 October 2015 and in Canada two days later on 9 October and was released in the United Kingdom on 11 December 2015.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% rating based on 61 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The site's consensus states: "The Forbidden Room may frustrate viewers looking for a linear experience, but those seeking a challenge – or already familiar with director Guy Maddin's work – will be rewarded."[9] Metacritic reports an 81 out of 100 rating, based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[10]

In December, the film was announced as part of TIFF's annual Canada's Top Ten screening series of the ten best Canadian films of the year.[11]


Related topic[edit]

External links[edit]