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In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)

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

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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>

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Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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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)
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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

 
A Different Kind of Beautiful Mind
24 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember hearing about Henry Darger several years ago, but the article I read back then was brief and I was disturbed by images of little girls being strangled in his art. I was eager to see a documentary that would more fully explain his art. I thought the film did a very good job of providing insight to his work - how his traumatic early life led to the themes of his obsessive artwork, how the torture of the little girls probably references his own feelings of feeling tortured in his own life, clues to why he drew penises on all his little blonde girls --"the Vivians," his basic sense of himself as an "innocent," his attempt to adopt children, how he created a secret world for himself, complete with talking to himself in different voices, etc. A much more interesting look into mental illness in some ways than the movie A Beautiful Mind.


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