Login

In The Realms Of The Unreal Review

Image for In The Realms Of The Unreal

Henry Darger was, during his lifetime, and absolute nobody. It wasn't until he died that his life's work was discovered, and he became an icon of the outsider. Jessica Yu has created a documentary of his life and work.

★★★★

This is a sad but astonishing story that supports Mark Twain’s assertion "There is no such thing as an uninteresting life."

Henry Darger was raised and died in bleak 'charitable' institutions. In between he worked as a Chicago janitor for 50 years, slipping silently through the world like a ghost, poor and utterly alone. But when he died in 1973, aged 81, his landlady discovered his secret life’s work: a 15,000 page novel, journals and a treasure trove of watercolours painted on butcher’s paper. Now an icon of Outsider Art, Darger created an extraordinary fantasy world in which angelic warrior children battled an evil empire.

Filmmaker Jessica Yu animates Darger’s artwork and mixes documentary techniques for a rivetting exploration of the man’s strange, rich inner life.

An amazing story told with the kind of love that Darger should have experienced more of during his lifetime.