Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Far Out Isn't Far Enough

Lively doc helps resuscitate a long-dormant artistic career.

June 12, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1378608-Far_Out_Isnt_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

A violent, scatological, sex-crazed mind shouldn't keep a man from being a giant in the world of children's literature, says Brad Bernstein's Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story. The thoroughly entertaining doc hopes to restore Ungerer to his place in the kid-book pantheon—a project started when Phaidon reissued his books in 2008—but it also establishes the artist's place in the history of mid-century commercial and political illustration. Devotees of graphic arts will love it, but the film's appeal isn't limited to that niche.

Connecting the dots between formative experiences and creative proclivities more successfully than the average bio-doc, Far Out introduces a man whose World War II-era upbringing in Strasbourg made him ill-suited to conformity the rest of his life. His exposure to Nazi propaganda did, however, inform his knack for single images that punch big ideas into viewers' heads: After moving to New York, he quickly found success in an advertising world hungry for new styles.

At first, his unconventional ideas were a hit in the world of children's storybooks as well. Though scary elements were normally forbidden there, Ungerer and a daring editor made bestsellers of books starring snakes, vultures, and even a child-eating ogre. Interviewed here, the late Maurice Sendak (a big fan) gives Ungerer credit for opening the door to the lovable beasts in Where the Wild Things Are; Jules Feiffer and graphics scholar Steven Heller also sing his praises, going on to speak of the potent political posters he produced alongside these books.

But Ungerer was also exploring graphic sexual fantasies in adults-only publications, a sideline that eventually got him blacklisted by librarians. He stopped writing for kids and went into exile—first in Nova Scotia, then in Ireland. Bernstein tells the story with unexpectedly adventurous (and unusually on-target) animation and motion graphics. But the doc benefits most from interviews with Ungerer himself, whose idiosyncratic opinions and hobbies make the film anything but boring.
-The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Far Out Isn't Far Enough

Lively doc helps resuscitate a long-dormant artistic career.

June 12, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1378608-Far_Out_Isnt_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

A violent, scatological, sex-crazed mind shouldn't keep a man from being a giant in the world of children's literature, says Brad Bernstein's Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story. The thoroughly entertaining doc hopes to restore Ungerer to his place in the kid-book pantheon—a project started when Phaidon reissued his books in 2008—but it also establishes the artist's place in the history of mid-century commercial and political illustration. Devotees of graphic arts will love it, but the film's appeal isn't limited to that niche.

Connecting the dots between formative experiences and creative proclivities more successfully than the average bio-doc, Far Out introduces a man whose World War II-era upbringing in Strasbourg made him ill-suited to conformity the rest of his life. His exposure to Nazi propaganda did, however, inform his knack for single images that punch big ideas into viewers' heads: After moving to New York, he quickly found success in an advertising world hungry for new styles.

At first, his unconventional ideas were a hit in the world of children's storybooks as well. Though scary elements were normally forbidden there, Ungerer and a daring editor made bestsellers of books starring snakes, vultures, and even a child-eating ogre. Interviewed here, the late Maurice Sendak (a big fan) gives Ungerer credit for opening the door to the lovable beasts in Where the Wild Things Are; Jules Feiffer and graphics scholar Steven Heller also sing his praises, going on to speak of the potent political posters he produced alongside these books.

But Ungerer was also exploring graphic sexual fantasies in adults-only publications, a sideline that eventually got him blacklisted by librarians. He stopped writing for kids and went into exile—first in Nova Scotia, then in Ireland. Bernstein tells the story with unexpectedly adventurous (and unusually on-target) animation and motion graphics. But the doc benefits most from interviews with Ungerer himself, whose idiosyncratic opinions and hobbies make the film anything but boring.
-The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Calvary
Film Review: Calvary

An invidious, enervating piece of work blessedly relieved by Brendan Gleeson’s empathetic portrayal of a worldly priest confronting the sins of the world. More »

Rich Hill
Film Review: Rich Hill

This study of teens trying to make it in a very depressed and depressing heartland would have benefited from more hard info and less pictorial meandering. More »

Child of God
Film Review: Child of God

Depravity abounds in this James Franco-directed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, which despite a committed performance by Scott Haze proves a one-note endurance test. More »

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
Film Review: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

A return to the stripped–down ferocity of Eli Roth's no-frills 2002 shocker, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (which the title suggests is a prequel, though it doesn't really feel like one) lacks originality but delivers the body-horror goods far better than genre minimalist Ti West's Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break (2009), a broadly campy spin on ’70s high-school horror clichés. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Get On Up
Film Review: Get On Up

Chadwick Boseman is sensational in this multi-faceted portrait of troubled, pioneering soul-music giant James Brown. More »

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here