In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger
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- Photo gallery
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Top Customer Reviews
Larry Pine provides Henry's voice, as he narrates his Dickensonian childhood and youth, thorough an adulthood of self-imposed isolation and struggles with faith, to this reluctant retirement. Luckily, his autobiography is frank, because Henry avoided interaction with people and spent every spare moment in his room creating the universe of his novel. Interviews with neighbors, landlords, and acquaintances allow us to see Henry as others did. As Henry's life unfolds, his novel, which he began in 1909 at the age of 17, progresses. The book is about a war between the Christian nation of Abbieannia and the land of Glandelinia, where children are enslaved. The heroes are the 7 cheeky, brave, and saint-like Vivian girl princesses, who lead the child slave rebellion. The novel is narrated by Dakota Fanning. And animators have brought Darger's fascinating illustrations to life in stunning visuals.
Jessica Yu is to be commended for encouraging viewers to come to their own conclusions about Henry Darger. The vibrancy, overwhelming innocence, and creativity of Darger's artwork has made it valuable today.Read more ›
Yu's treatment of Henry's art is just as sensitive (and engrossing) as her treatment of his art. The surreal dream-like landscapes that Henry Darger created in his huge novel are animated perfectly by Yu. Birds streak across technicolor skies while the children of Albeannia fight the evil Glandelinians in startling motion.
Never before has Darger's life and art been so sensitively told, and I highly suggest this movie to anyone interested in art of any kind. Darger's work is now imitated by thousands of artists across the world and his subversive and disturbing imagery is entirely unqiue and very exciting to see. Not only does Yu truly do justice to this art (she shows at least half of Darger's work) but she uses it to tell the heartbreaking story of a man who only wanted a person to love.
Yu has created a truly great movie and it is, most definitely, a must buy.
Darger is, of course, one of the best known and most celebrated outsider artists, the author of a staggeringly large illustrated novel IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL, about a war between Christian and anti-Christian forces in a make believe land. The most compelling part of Darger's story is that he was completely untrained as an artist and writer and that except for a single friend was a lifelong recluse. His neighbors and the few who knew him elsewhere had no idea that he was the author of a 15,000 page illustrated novel.
The filmmaker made several interesting decisions in making the documentary, all of which I think were done successfully. No critics or experts or outside commentators were employed. All interviews were with people who knew Darger, including the landlady who helped preserve Darger's room after realizing what he had achieved there. There are actors who portray Darger and who read passages from Darger's work, but no art critics. The narration is by the then very young Dakota Fanning, appropriate given Darger's fascination with young girls.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an intriguing look at a person on the edge of normal who worked in secret with his art and writing his entire adult life. Read morePublished 11 months ago by paul rowny
The producers seem to have gotten bored, and they started animating the still drawings of Darger. That's actually pretty cool, except they didn't seem to pay attention to what the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gen Falel
One of the plot points of Junebug that always bothered me was the way that the pretentious art curator was going down to her husband's neck of the woods in order to make a bid on... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Tim Lieder
I have watched this video 10 times and it is still fascinating. Henry Darger's work is very complex and deserves the artistic recognition. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by C. Eckdall
this is a powerful story about an unusual person who processed deep emotions and feelings through his art. It serves as an inspiration to us all. I highly recommend it.Published on April 28, 2014 by Christofer