April 12th, 2011: In the Realms of the Unreal

Cast and Crew: Jessica Yu (Director)

What It’s About: Henry Darger was a Chicago janitor known only as a neighborhood eccentric-until he died and his neighbors entered his apartment, finding his life’s work-a 15,000 page novel titled In the Realms of the Unreal, a 5,000 page autobiography, and thousands of drawings. Darger’s art combines popular art, illustrations from catalogs, children’s books, comics and other sources, reproduced in various ways, along with his own contributions, while his novel was influenced by everything from the Oz books to his own, hard life (which included time at an asylum and orphanage as a child).  Narrator Larry Pine reads from Darger’s autobiography while Dakota Fanning reads from Henry’s novel and gives us the details of his life. The film is illustrated with Darger’s own drawings, sometimes animated, along with some pictures and a few talking heads, mostly former neighbors. 

Why Watch it Today?: Subject Henry Darger was born today in 1892.  In the Realms of the Unreal is a compelling film, informative and intriguing.

Where to Get ItPublic libraries, Netflix (Rental only) or  Amazon

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