Canadian auteur Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World, Brand Upon the Brain!, My Winnipeg, et al) makes strange and funny experimental films inspired by the early days of cinema. He re-creates battered, emulsified film stocks, including jumps and scratches, and incorporates intertitles to tell his sometimes silent, fantastic, unrealistic stories.
His latest, The Forbidden Room (2015), also copies the old two-strip Technicolor technique from the late 1920s, resulting in bold, beautiful color swaths. The movie has been described as a “nesting doll,” with stories appearing inside other stories. It’s difficult to follow on the whole, but in any given moment, it can be funny or startling or both. Stories involve a submarine crew about to run out of air, a lumberjack hoping to rescue a pretty woman from vampires, and a moustache that comes back to life after its owner dies.
It may take a few moments for casual viewers to get the hang of Maddin’s unique rhythms, but there’s great pleasure to be had here.