7.4/10
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In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)

A documentary on Henry Darger, visionary artist, janitor, and novelist.

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Writers:

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Henry Darger (voice)
...
Narrator / Vivian Girls (voice)
Frier McCollister ...
Additional Voice (voice)
...
Additional Voice (voice)
Janice Hong ...
Additional Voice (voice)
Ruby McCollister ...
Additional Voice (voice)
Paul Robert Langdon ...
Additional Voice (voice)
Mary O'Donnell ...
Herself - Neighbor
Kiyoko Lerner ...
Herself - Landlady
Mary Rooney ...
Herself - Parish Bookkeeper
David Berglund ...
Himself - Neighbor
Regina Waters ...
Herself - Neighbor
Mark Waters ...
Himself - Neighbor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Henry Darger ...
Himself (photos)
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Storyline

Henry Darger worked all his life in menial jobs in Chicago. Living alone and in poverty, he had no friends or close family. Spending all his off hours alone, he whiled away the hours working on a 15,000 page illustrated novel called The Realms of the Unreal. A stunning amalgam of religious imagery, fantasy, and heroic drama, the work was only discovered after Darger was moved to a hospital during the last days of his life. Darger also wrote journals and an autobiography. The documentary uses interviews with Darger's neighbors and narration of passages from his works, along with his illustrations, to explore the mind and work of Henry Darger. Written by Ken Miller <wkmiller704@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 2008 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$15,477 (USA) (24 December 2004)

Gross:

$413,708 (USA) (10 June 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Quotes

[last lines]
[end title cards]
Title Card: After Darger's death in 1973, the Lerners decided to share their discovery of his work, preserving his room and its contents.
Title Card: Since then, Henry Darger's work has been exhibited and collected worldwide. His art has inspired the creation of paintings, poetry, music, and works in theatre, dance, and opera.
Title Card: The room was dismantled in 2000.
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Soundtracks

Innocent When You Dream (78)
Written by Tom Waits
Used by permission of Jalma Music (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Too Much for Too Much
21 January 2005 | by (elay) – See all my reviews

The *subject* of Darger and this film about him are two different things. Rather than coming at Darger as someone who understands outsider art let alone Darger, Jessica Yu has the eye of the typical person who is "fascinated" by Darger's story. She just happens to have access to capital and the means to make a movie.

This isn't meant to harp on Yu or her film-making abilities which are okay, but she lacks an emotional connection to the story outside of being "blown away," just like everyone else. In fact, I heard Yu describe her fortuitous discovery of Darger... but that's all it was. Unlike, say, Franklin Rosemont, who's been writing about Darger waaaaay before any of the critics or "experts" of late. What was Rosemont's impetus? He was a Surrealist...

The film itself is, I hate to say it, rather boring. Pedestrian. I also completely agree with the viewer who said that everything was in close up - it makes for a monotony that's palpable.

As is, this film should have been no longer than 45 minutes. It is simply far too long and monotonous...

One can only imagine what a film about Darger might have been if made by, say, Bunuel. It would have made all the difference. It would have hinted at the marvelous in the mundane, rather than been fascinated by a car wreck with a spectator's eye. As it is, it is "accomplished" and "polished". That's about it.


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