Tomi Ungerer, considered by some -- most likely the very old or the very young -- to be one of the world's finest children's book artists, seem barely known here in the U.S.? As we learn from the exemplary documentary FAR OUT ISN'T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY, this most interesting artist was quite literally blacklisted by our guardians of culture here in the U.S. and so for a quarter-century produced no more children's books. This period, beginning in the early 1970s, pretty much coincided with the birth of our daughter, and so we (and she) missed out on this artist's gift to kids.
Brad Bernstein (shown at left), the documentary begins with the artist, now in his early 80s, living in Ireland, then backtracks to his earliest days. Born in 1931 in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France (in Strasbourg) which had long been fought over by the French and the Germans, the region, like the rest of Europe, was soon embroiled in the Nazi plans for universal conquest. (Ungerer's anecdote about his mother and the speaking of the French in Strasbourg under the German rule is an eye-opening look at both the Nazi mind and the character of Mrs. Ungerer (who was herself an actress and a noted beauty of the day.)
Maurice Sendak and the still-with-us Jules Feiffer.
and finally to those now famous children's books -- art from which appears toward the bottom of this post.
Rick Cikowski) so that everything moves along at a pleasant clip.
Far Out Isn't Far Enough (one of Ungerer's commandments concerning creativity and how to keep it going) -- unrated and from First Run Features -- opened theatrically this past Friday in New York City (at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema) and will open in Los Angeles (at the Landmark Nuart) this coming Friday, June 21. Click here to see all upcoming playdates and theaters.