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Jessica Yu's documentary explores the relationship between human life and Euripidean dramatic structure by weaving together the stories of four men: German terrorist, a bank robber, an "ex-gay" evangelist, and a martial arts student.
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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 <email@example.com>
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After Darger's death in 1973, the Lerners decided to share their discovery of his work, preserving his room and its contents.
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.
The room was dismantled in 2000.
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Innocent When You Dream (78)
Written by Tom Waits
Used by permission of Jalma Music (ASCAP) See more »
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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