Thoughts on In the Realms of the Unreal

Sunday, November 21, 2010 7:46 AM By Simon

-WHen Henry Darger, a seemingly innocuous old shut-in, died in the 1970s, he left behind a colossal collection of autobiography, weather reports, and most notably, a 15000-something page epic entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. Now considered the leading example of an outsider artist, this documentary follows not the artist (as he wasn't even known as an artist), but the man (interviews of which consist of landlords acquaintances, as anyone who had ever managed to get closer to him has long since died or was unable to be tracked down), who hated talking to people, dug through old newspapers for pictures, and had only a vague knowledge of sex (the opposite or the act). Among other things.

-No talking heads, no investigations, for the most part, it is a man reading Darger's journals, a girl (Dakota Fanning, I think) giving a little background on both him and the book, occasional interviews with said acquaintances, all to fancifully-animated segments of the story.

-A fascinating, if not very in-depth (forgiveable, under the circumstances) biography, from his rather miserable childhood to his beginning of the novel in 1907, to his death.


Alex said...

This is my favorite documentary ever. Completely fascinating. I saw some of Darger's work exhibited at the Folk Art Museum in New York and it was wonderful. I think one of my dream jobs would be studying his book, which is part of a research center at that museum.

November 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM
Andreas said...

THERE IS A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HENRY DARGER? I've heard enough. Also, it's good? Better yet. Plus, I love the poster. I'm going to keep an eye out for this one.

November 24, 2010 at 2:22 PM