Outsider art is a term often used to refer to primitive stylized work. Real outsider art is more rare than what is found in the marketplace these days. These are artists who create for motivations purely their own, without feedback or compensation from the greater art world.

Henry Darger is just such an artist. With a tragic childhood behind him, and a difficulty relating to people, he created his own world in order to confront his demons and live out his fantasies. When he passed, he left behind 15 large tomes (he liked to collage phone books) totaling 15,145 pages of his illustrated novel!

The documentary is a vivid summary of his life and his work. The filmmaker animates Darger’s wonderful characters to make his novel come alive in a way that Henry’s real life never could be. Its a poignant and sad story that is beautifully handled and I marvel at the strength of Henry’s spirit as he tried to rework his bleak existence.