I’ve never taken LSD and wandered around a film archive, but I imagine the experience might be similar to The Forbidden Room. Co-directed by Guy Maddin and his young discovery Evan Johnson, The Forbidden Room feels like the entirety of Maddin’s oeuvre collapsing in on itself for a gorgeous, droll and (at times overly) desultory 128 minutes.
A brief synopsis of the film, which will get more play at museums than multiplexes, is near impossible. But here goes: mixing genres, film stocks and well-worn cinematic tropes, a damsel must be rescued. A Canadian wolf-hunter will challenge the cave-dwellers who hold her, but in between, the film takes lengthy narrative digressions that include the dreams of a sentient erupting volcano, the reminiscences of a dying man’s moustache and absurd instructions from a 1960s-era square on how to take a bath.
These sequences and the effective use of period typeset inter-titles are more like