Diary of Forbidden Dreams - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Diary of Forbidden Dreams Reviews

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February 3, 2016
"What?" was he thinking? Glacially-paced, ludicrous, plotless and damn-near insufferable.
April 19, 2014
This is where it starts getting wonky.
March 27, 2013
The story stumbles awkwardly from one nipple to the implausible next, with very little interest for what's in between. In all fairness I've never really found the sternum all that interesting either, especially in comparison to tits, but the end result is a mess. Characters and drama are sold upstream for butt cheeks and belly buttons. You almost wish they would have gone for straight porn instead of walking a cheek reddening line between, "I'm here to fix your pipes" and "Hell is other people". Should you watch this movie, only if you hate women.

There are worse thing in life, like:
Sticking your tongue in a paper shredder.
Filling your nose with someone else's boogers.
Being buried alive in a coffin full of starving hagfish, in heat.
½ February 6, 2013
Divertida comedia absurda con tintes casi surrealistas, es una de las mas olvidadas peliculas de Roman Polanski, que obviamente no se encuentra dentro de sus mejores logros pero es un gusto personal. Me encanto el uso constante de deja-vu's. A Sydne Rome la encuentro muy guapa y carismatica en su papel (80% de la pelicula sale en calzones y con una pierna pintada de azul) y Marcello Mastroniani, hilarante, interpreta a un hedonista que gusta de verstirse de tigre como perversión. Hace años que la vi y no la encuentro por ningun lado :( , si tienen oportunidad de verla, no la desperdicien.
ElCochran90
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
Polanski stops his suspenseful genius; he needed solid material either to adapt or to create in order to solidify his genre talents. However, like few directors dare to do in their lifetime, he throws the towel and decides to embark on a journey of the perverted and surreal. "What if I decide to challenge people to enter into my mind realm?" And so, he begins to dig the rabbit's hole as deep as he felt the pleasure to! Mocking himself, laughing at clichés, revealing Mastroianni's campiness, Che? is born and it is an absolute freaking blast! Like a hard slap on your viewing and moral habits!

98/100
Super Reviewer
½ December 17, 2011
If you wonder why a film Roman Polanski directed during his prime is so forgotten, you obviously haven't seen "What?" Alternately known as "Diary of Forbidden Dreams" (ugh), this voyeuristic romp seems descended from Terry Southern's "Candy" and Playboy's "Little Annie Fanny" comic. Except it's not funny. It's barely even sexy.

Curly-haired beauty Synde Rome stars as Nancy, an American hitchhiker who flees a poorly chosen ride in Italy and stumbles into a luxurious, beachfront getaway. Like Candy and Annie, she's a naive, manipulable blonde who somehow keeps losing her clothes. Aww, how embarrassing for the poor dear. During most of the film, she has one leg painted blue and wears only a borrowed pajama top. It's not worth explaining.

The idyllic home is owned by an old invalid (character actor Hugh Griffith, Britain's answer to Jack Elam). But he has multiple guests and caretakers, including the ubiquitous Marcello Mastroianni. Marcello takes a shine to sweet Nancy and soon has her indulging his favorite fantasy, which involves being playfully whipped as he crawls around in a tiger skin. Grrr. In a later scene, Marcello talks to a tree. This was not his proudest role.

Other visitors include a woman who casually walks around nude, a Mozart-loving pianist (his duets with Nancy are quite enjoyable as music), two ping-pong addicts and a hip priest who eventually gets kicked in the groin. Most of them have some sort of lurid interest in Nancy. Polanski himself appears as a trivial imp nicknamed "Mosquito." It's easy to see why women found him so adorable.

Rome is not a bad actress, and indeed is still working today. But even Mastroianni can't salvage this tired, aimless script.

Following this disaster, Polanski's next project was a little noir tale called "Chinatown."
January 16, 2011
Honestly, it can only be seen as a curiosity (or to admire Sydne Rome). Otherwise, it's too chaotic and weak.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
The copy of this I rented from the library was pretty messed up, but from what I saw, this was a good movie. An interesting comedy from Polanski.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2010
Escaping from an attempted rape, an American ingenue (Sidney Rome) hitchhiking through Italy loses her clothes and finds a villa populated with eccentric characters, including a lecherous ex-pimp (Marcello Mastroianni). An absurdist sex comedy that's plenty absurd, mildly sexy, and not one bit funny. Roman Polanski sandwiched back-to-back flops (MACBETH and this) between the classics ROSEMARY'S BABY and CHINATOWN in an attempt to win the title of "most uneven director in history."
April 15, 2010
It may not be Polanski's masterpiece, but it surely is very daring and imaginative. The idea came from "Alice in Wonderland" obviously. You can think of it as Polanski's own private erotic dream, or it can also be the inspiration for David Lynch. Either way, we still enjoy escaping to someone else's dream.
January 24, 2010
Roman Polanski directed "Che?" ( What/Diary of Forbidden Dreams) in between his vastly underrated version of Macbeth (1971) and arguably his finest film, Chinatown (1974), add in Marcello Mastroianni and Hugh Griffith and one wonders why Diary of Forbidden Dreams has never been officially released on DVD here in the states, one wonders of course until you see it. A surrealistic sex farce that follows Nancy (Sydne Rome) a young woman who flees a sexual attack to only find herself in a large Italian manor where she is dragged through a series of bizarre encounters. Lavishly filmed but ultimately mean spirited film that has the odor of a paycheck job for Polanski as so much of his powers during this time are not in evidence here.
½ December 6, 2009
Fräck,trevlig och småtöntig. precis som jag.
½ December 5, 2009
This 'comedy' is a feminist's nightmare that is not at all funny: just strange, dreamy and seductive. However it is somehow compulsively watchable and easy on the eye.
jimbotender
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2009
So what if it's an unusual assault to moral attitudes?Perhaps it is a whole lot of a terrible sketch.Polanski definitely has a writer's block and yet,I thoroughly enjoyed the crazy ride.Sometimes,a couple of films despite their idiosyncrasy,give you a certain flash of juvenile happiness.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2009
Some sympathetic (in all its weirdness) moments can't save this messy alice in wonderland all'italiana, or a la polaski more exactly.
I know the charm is supposed to be on its absurdist situations, but I just didn't find it funny, rather incredibly boring and uninsteresting.
July 25, 2009
I watch What?, Roman Polanski's movie about a woman who unintentionally enters into an Italian villa filled with folks that Luis Bunuel might have concocted after a few Martini's, and wonder, what's the point? I suppose it's about collective (and/or random) insanity, and how the most unsuspecting intruder can get wrapped up in the mayhem. Or maybe it's an allegory for the era of 'do what you like' in a morbid paradise in the Italian coast with the rooms and balconies and beaches like another silent character. What is it?

I can wonder this, but what it comes down to is the movie is funny. It's funny because of the extremes Polanski and co-writer Gerard Brach take with characters and specific scenarios. Everybody at this villa, where the protagonist arrives at, is surely demented to one degree or another. There's the pimp, played by Marcello Mastroianni, who loves the feel of crushing ping pong balls with his feet, dressing up as tigers and admirals for sexually sado-masochistic endeavors; there's the guy who plays piano beautifully and doesn't respond when someone talks to him during his incessant playing; there's Polanski himself playing a character named 'Mosquito', a fellow with a fake beard and a strange thing for Sydney Rome's character's jeans, which he steals in her sleep. This doesn't even include random people like the woman walking around naked for no reason.

There is no distinct plot, but rather it follows that illogical line of logic one could find in the Exterminating Angel (or Alice in Wonderland for that matter), or perhaps as just a parody of the creation of a 'sex diary' that Rome carries on her person everywhere. Some lines fly over my head, and others are some of the funniest and most cleverly deranged that Polanski's ever done. There's even time for the villa's wise-old dying patriarch, with his bushy beard and eyebrows who nearly passes on on at a big dinner, only to recover and become with obsessed with Rome's shirt.

This all said, it's not altogether excellent. Rome's performance wavers between competency and total flatness. That might have been what Polanski wanted (she reminded on of a slightly cuter Elizabeth Berkley), but aside from good looks there's not much going on for her here. The good news is the bevy of Italian character players, people one's never seen before (or non-Italian ones like Hugh Griffith), hit their marks and can be hysterical on the whole.

None, however, are quite as good as Mastroianni. As another proof of his genius as an actor, he makes this perverted Don Jaun all his own. He's suave, but in that slimy way, like a permanently libidinous version of his sexual fantasies in 8 1/2. So that his sudden appearances qas he spies on Rome are funny on their own, but one he gets into 'uniforn' in those sex-role play scenes (particularly that tiger, good Lord), or fetishizes that ping pong ball, it's a kind of outrageous perfection.

What? isn't top-shelf Polanski, and there is something to it being unavailable for so long in the Unites States. But if you ca find it, and are at least a decent fan of the director and/or the star, it's a hoot. That's what it is.
½ July 13, 2009
Divertida comedia absurda con tintes casi surrealistas, es una de las mas olvidadas peliculas de Roman Polanski, que obviamente no se encuentra dentro de sus mejores logros pero es un gusto personal. Me encanto el uso constante de deja-vu's. A Sydne Rome la encuentro muy guapa y carismatica en su papel (80% de la pelicula sale en calzones y con una pierna pintada de azul) y Marcello Mastroniani, hilarante, interpreta a un hedonista que gusta de verstirse de tigre como perversión. Hace años que la vi y no la encuentro por ningun lado :( , si tienen oportunidad de verla, no la desperdicien.
April 11, 2009
What indeed! A young aloof woman finds herself in an ocean side villa filled with bizarre circumstances and people, very vaguely based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.....Mastroianni...Polanski himself acts too and is very funny...definitely the oddest and lest "traditional" of Polanski's films as far as story telling...
January 11, 2009
Polanski creates an erotic, humorous twist on Alice in Wonderland, complete with Marcello Mastroianni in a tiger skin and a labyrinthine villa on the Med. A little strange, a little dreamlike, more than a little twisted, and all the while surrounded by an absolutely gorgeous set. Hard to follow, as an Alice remake should be, but Mastroianni's and Polanski's performances are well-worth the ride. As it were.
October 15, 2008
weird. it is fun because you don't know what is going to happen next. visually it is not very interesting.
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