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June 16, 2013

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough

Far Out Isn't Far Enough“Far Out Isn’t Far Enough” is everything a good documentary should be. Captivating, informative, shocking, and entertaining, Brad Bernstein’s dynamic exposé traces the lifelong struggles of multi-disciplined artist Tomi Ungerer — a man brimming with so much charisma, you can’t help but fall under his spell.

At one time the most famous children’s book author in America, Ungerer’s twisting path — from a child growing up in Nazi-occupied Alsace, France to becoming an enormously successful illustrator, political cartoonist, and author in ‘50s and ‘60s New York — Ungerer’s remarkable artistic output in so many fields practically ensured his eventual exile from America.

His gift for erotic drawing — he published many imaginative books of erotica — became a sticking point for puritanical American critics who effectively blacklisted him overnight when his “multiple activities” were exposed at a children’s book convention for the American Library Association where Ungerer was invited to speak. Members of the crowd physically attacked the artist, prompting him to give back verbally the pain that was inflicted on his body. The damage was done. Even his supporters — including such luminaries as Jules Feiffer and Maurice Sendak — were unable to prevent Ungerer’s children’s books from being pulled from American libraries.

Few artists have so fiercely and eloquently tilled the soil in the “no-man’s land between good and bad” as Tomi Ungerer. Here is a bold cinematic portrait of one of the most honest and talented artists you could ever hope to meet.

Not Rated. 98 mins. (A-) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)

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