The best thing about In the Realms of the Unreal are the sequences in which Darger's drawings, of epic battles and pigtailed heroines, are gently animated -- the pictures brought to life with subtle, fluttering motion.
While Yu has made a sensitive and intriguing introduction to Darger and his world, she could have gone further without the film becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of his unsettling isolation and oeuvre.
The best way for a film to acknowledge the specialness of painting is to get out of its way and present it unaltered, whereas Yu uses it as raw material to be moved around, sometimes so crudely as to resemble the credits for Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Using Darger's own drawings (some of them animated by the filmmakers) and words, as well as interviews with the few people who came in contact with him, Yu presents a compelling, somewhat disturbing portrait of the artist.
Darger is one of the world's best-known outsider artists, but the fact that no one interviewed in In the Realms of the Unreal, Jessica Yu's excellent new documentary on his life and work, can agree on how to pronounce his name speaks volumes.