Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)

Jessica Yu


In 1973, at a Catholic poor house in Chicago, an 81-year-old retired janitor quietly died. His name was Henry Darger. Just months earlier, he had moved from the rented room where he had lived for over 40 years. When his landlords, Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner, cleaned out the clutter room, they discovered paintings: hundreds of brilliant watercolors, some over 10 feet long. The images were disturbing and mysteriously beautiful: little girls frolicking under stormy skies, little girls fighting soldiers, little girls being rescued by fantastic winged creatures. In many images, the girls were drawn naked, with penises.
The landlords soon found the other half of Darger's life's work, perhaps the longest novel ever written: the more than 15,000 page, single-spaced typed In the Realms of the Unreal, an epic story of the virtuous Vivian girls and their religious war against the evil Glandelinian army. For most of his life, Henry Darger, a recluse whom others called "Crazy," had lived in this rich fantasy world. It was a world he had kept to himself.
Today, Henry Darger is considered to be one of America's foremost outsider artists: an untaught artist working in isolation from the commercial or public eye. IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL, an adventurous documentary feature, explores the fantastic vision and shadowy life of this enigmatic artist.


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  1. Huge thanks for sharing 'In The Realms Of The Real'..this is what I love about documentaries, every so often one comes along that completely re-enchants the world around you and you just have to sir back and marvel at the complexity of the human imagination and it's ability to actualise itself in the most unlikely forms possible.

    The artwork and narrative conceived by Henry Darger is just astonishing and the documentary does and excellent job of telling the background story without detracting from the art itself and the stories Henry told.

    Contender for best doc I have seen so far this year!

  2. Gracias por el documental... tu blog es muy bueno. Desde Sud América mis felicitaciones.


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