There is precisely one cinema in London not showing Star Wars. Not much surprise, then, that it’s the place where you can see Guy Maddin’s newest. The Forbidden Room, which you just have to see on the big screen. Not surprising, too, that this cinema belongs to the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts is the sort of place where you can get books with titles like The Internet Does Not Exist, I Love Dick and How To Talk About Video Games. In other words, a brilliantly worthless place. One, however, where you can get complete poems of Philip Larkin for 25 quid.
Really, they could not not show The Forbidden Room. There were fifteen of us. Brave, insane weirdos. Not everyone passed the test: just ten were left by the end of it.
There are things in life for which you can never prepare yourself. Like death or the pain in the cabinet of a dentist. And one of these things is the sheer mind-fucking bizarreness of Guy Maddin’s films. Watching his older works like The Saddest Music In The World (a brilliant, brilliant film) could help a little, but I wouldn’t be so sure.
The Forbidden Room is an inspired pastiche of films from the 20s and the 30s. Also, it’s a bit like Lynch’s Inland Empire in that you get it without understanding how or why you got it. Without being able to explain to anyone else what it is that you got.
Let’s put it this way. I got to my place late at night and this is the dream I had: I was explaining to a dwarf why I think Philip Larkin is the greatest poet of all time. I think I managed to convince him in the end.