Revolutions of the Night: The Enigma of Henry Darger
Mark Stokes, 2012
UK | 104 minutes
The drawings and writings of Henry Darger (1892-1973) - disturbing visions created in his one-room apartment in Chicago - have brought him worldwide posthumous fame. This portrait takes us back to 1972, when Darger's life work, including the 15,000-page illustrated epic The Realms of the Unreal, was first uncovered. It relates how Darger's work came to be saved from the trash by his landlord, and how the man who was totally dismissed in his own lifetime changed the lives of everyone he met. Startling new details about Darger's controversial work are revealed, along with his secret past and the hidden life of Chicago. Darger's psychological state has become the subject of endless speculation, but Darger the man has been largely subsumed by myth. Forty years after his death, he emerges from the shadows as a powerful presence and astute commentator on the contemporary world.
Revolutions of the Night brings together extensive interviews with rare archive film and video, previously unseen photographs, archive sound recordings, and unpublished Darger materials. It has been acclaimed as "the best cinematic treatment of Darger's art and life - the best connection between Darger's art and his imagination" (artinfo.com).
Visit the Revolutions of the Night website for more information.
In the Realms of the Unreal
Jessica Yu, 2004
US | 81 minutes
Reclusive janitor by day, visionary artist by night, outsider artist Henry Darger moved through life virtually unnoticed. But after his death, a treasure trove was discovered in his one-room Chicago apartment: a staggering 15,000-page novel and hundreds of illustrations that continue to inspire artists around the world. With dreamlike animation, poignant narration by Dakota Fanning and a haunting musical score, Academy Award winner Jessica Yu fashions a bold and beautiful film. In the Realms of the Unreal immerses us in Darger's startling universe of innocence and pain, showing how he forged magic out of the bleakest of lives. A co-presentation with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) (PBS.org).
Darger's Room 1973
Coleen Fitzgibbon & Michael S. Thompson, 1973
US | 21 minutes, no sound
Film by Coleen Fitzgibbon and Michael S. Thompson. Filmed on super8 film at artist Henry Darger's apartment on a Bolex Super8 camera by filmmakers Coleen Fitzgibbon, and Michael S. Thompson late spring 1973 in Chicago, IL. Invited to film by Nathan Lerner and Michael Baruch, the room was cluttered with art materials, Darger's books, artworks and newspaper clippings. Transferred to Digital Video 2/17/98.
Available on archive.org.