In the Realms of the Unreal

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In the Realms of the Unreal
In the Realms of the Unreal (film poster).jpg
Directed byJessica Yu
Produced bySusan West
Joan Huang
Written byJessica Yu
StarringLarry Pine
Frier McCollister
Wally Wingert
Janice Hong
Narrated byDakota Fanning
Music byJeff Beal
CinematographyRussell Harper
Edited byJessica Yu
Distributed byForward Entertainment
Mongrel Media
Wellspring Media
Release date
  • 2004 (2004)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States

In the Realms of the Unreal is a 2004 documentary film directed by Jessica Yu about American outsider artist Henry Darger (1892–1973).

An obscure janitor during his life, Darger is known for the posthumous discovery of his elaborate 15,145-page fantasy manuscript 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, along with several hundred watercolor paintings and other drawings illustrating the story.

The film won the National Film Board Award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America.[1]


The film's style is atypical of a documentary. Because there are only three known photographs of Darger, and because of his reclusive lifestyle, the film is mostly a narrated biographical account, accompanied by animated versions of events from his magnum opus, which is also surveyed in detail. Interviews with his few neighbors and other acquaintances are included.


  1. ^ "WGA serves up 1st doc kudo to 'Super'". Variety. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2019.

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