Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

In the Realms of the Unreal

Year: 2003
Country: United States
Run Time: 81 minutes

Five years in the making, IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL is a touching homage to outsider artist Henry Darger. Born in Chicago, where he lived his entire life, Darger was a singularly odd man. He made a menial living as a janitor for a Catholic school, but at night his imagination ran wild. Over the course of his life, Darger wrote an epic 15,000-page volume of a great war between angelic young girls called The Vivians and child-enslaving men. He also painted scenes of the battles on long pieces of butcher paper - paintings that now fetch millions at auction. The director intentionally left out art critics, visionary art experts and psychologists. Instead, Dakota Fanning reads from his epic tome, while images from his paintings are tastefully and deliciously animated. Larry Pine in turn reads from Darger's autobiography, and soon a cohesive picture emerges of a disturbed but harmless man left alone to create vast new worlds. People who lived in his building and protected him from the outside world talk about Henry, and how when he died in 1973, they found and preserved his work.

Susan West

Russ Harper, Tim Bieber

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