Gleeful, hypnotic and totally deranged, Guy Maddin and co-director Evan Johnson’s phantasmagoric opus reworks improvised rushes into a demented mashup/homage to B-movies and silent film.
Opening with an absurd 1960s-era instructional from a pot-bellied letch on how to take a bath; rapidly segueing to a Canadian lumberjack on a mission to rescue a damsel with amnesia being held captive by cave dwelling wolf-men; and at some later point cutting to Udo Kier being lobotomised to curb his penchant for pinching derrieres; this whacked-out medley of weird tableaus travels deep under the ocean, high into the sky and far into the darkest regions of the psyche. The Forbidden Room evolved from the interactive Seances project, with Maddin as the director/medium channeling the spirits of silent films, lost to the archives, through improvised live ‘happenings’. They took place in temporary sets at Montreal’s Phi Center and The Pompidou Centre in Paris, and featured participants such as Geraldine Chaplin, Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Rampling and Ariane Labed. Taking ‘really hideous, raw video’ and reworking all the palettes and colour-timing on over 4,000 hours of rushes, then experimenting with super-imposition and adding luridly entertaining inter-titles, The Forbidden Room is epic both as a formal filmmaking feat and a deliriously heightened cinephilic pleasure.
Animation & Artists Moving Image
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1991 92 mins Director: Derek Jarman
Inside his modest, sparsely-furnished home on the barren, windswept Dungeness coastline, Derek Jarman dreams.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1987 91 mins Director: Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman's passionate and poetic lament on the rise of Thatcherism and corporate dealings.
Documentary 1974 98 mins Director: Stephen Dwoskin
The account of a close, personal relationship as experienced by a disabled man.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1994 96 mins Director: Stephen Dwoskin
Autobiographical film by the veteran disabled experimental filmmaker, Steve Dwoskin.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2016 96 mins Director: Ali Soozandeh
In this gorgeously animated drama, the lives of several strong-willed women and a young musician intersect in contemporary Iran.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2018 89 mins Director: Nick Park
In Aardman’s latest animated adventure, Caveman Dug and his pet hog, Hognog, must unite their tribe if they're are to survive the threat of pompous tyrant Lord Nooth.
BFI London Film Festival
Anthology 1974 103 mins Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Walerian Borowczyk presents four stories of sexual taboos throughout the ages, in his highly controversial classic of 1970s erotic cinema.
Thriller 2009 129 mins Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cult Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s (The Host, Snowpiercer) fourth feature is a startlingly original and thrilling account of the limits of maternal devotion.
Drama 2011 105 mins Director: Pablo Berger
Pablo Berger’s imaginative black-and-white ‘silent’ movie relocates the story of Snow White to 1920s Spain – complete with bullfighting dwarfs
Drama 2010 124 mins Director: Alexei Popogrebsky
Alexei Popogrebski's taut psychological drama depicts two Arctic meteorologists (a veteran and a novice); secrets, lies and isolation take their toll
Documentary 2015 97 mins Director: Grant Gee
A multi-layered melding of fiction and fact, about Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and his Istanbul Museum of Innocence.
Documentary 2010 92 mins Director: John Akomfrah
John Akomfrah mixes archive material, literary and musical quotations and newly shot silent footage in a wry, rapt meditation on memory and migration.
Featuring Charlotte Rampling
Drama 2013 93 mins Director: François Ozon
Francois Ozon’s sly and seductive account of teenage girl’s dalliance with high-class prostitution.
Drama 2014 95 mins Director: Andrew Haigh
One of the most acclaimed British features of recent years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple rocked by news from the past.
Musical 2010 98 mins Director: Max Giwa
A streetdance crew are forced to take in some ballet dancers in order to compete at their UK finals. With performances by Diversity and Flawless.
Drama 2002 102 mins Director: François Ozon
A crime novelist seeks peace but gets a dangerous muse in this twisted bilingual thriller from François Ozon.
Biopic 2008 110 mins Director: Saul Dibb
Keira Knightley plays an 18th-century duchess who challenges convention by responding to her husband’s infidelities with affairs of her own.
Featuring Udo Kier
Crime 2018 159 mins Director: S. Craig Zahler
As brutal and uncompromising as its title would suggest, the third feature from S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) is another instant classic crime drama.
Drama 2018 124 mins Director: Christiaan Olwagen
A Boy George-obsessed smalltown boy joins the South African Defence Force army choir, in this quirky Apartheid-era musical drama.
Comedy 1967 21 mins Director: Ian Fordyce
This incomplete episode features only the show’s opening and first sketch, plus a brief fragment of the lengthy ‘Judge Not’ sketch, with the remainder presented as audio-only or script.
Children's 1968 27 mins Director: Daphne Shadwell
This extended episode is an intriguing mixture of new material and newly shot reprises of sketches from the series.
Children's 1968 25 mins Director: Daphne Shadwell
Highlights in this episode include the terrific ‘Art Gallery’ sketch, with a Gumby-esque Terry Jones exhibited as a living art work.
Children's 1968 25 mins Director: Daphne Shadwell
As the series nears its conclusion everybody in the cast seems thoroughly at ease with each other, delivering both slapstick and cerebral sketches with smooth efficiency.
Sketch show 1967 25 mins Director: Ian Fordyce
An incomplete episode that has been reconstructed with audio and scripts, but which features a video fragments of John Cleese's classic ‘Joke Shop’ sketch.