Out in Theaters: ‘THE FORBIDDEN ROOM’

When a postmodern film premieres, there’s often a rush to condemn (or praise) its lack of coherence, leaving filmgoers huffing (or cheering), “It doesn’t make any sense!” I submit that this reaction is often misplaced, one recent example of such an instance being Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of the novel (by the seminal postmodern author, Thomas Pynchon) Inherent Vice. If, as a viewer, you’re attempting to square everything that happens with a singular narrative or, more significantly, an overarching meaning or sense, you’ve failed to grasp the “point” of postmodernity in literature, which includes (but is not limited to) that “reality” and “meaning” are no longer monolithic values locatable outside of the interpretive act (or anywhere at all). Paranoia is the organizing principle in that particular film, in that nearly everything that happens appears to have some hidden significance or to indicate a larger organization, malevolently, though no such broader scheme will ever be revealed/provided to the reader.

Read More