Bernstein chronicles the renegade children's book author and illustrator's life & art
You may think children's book authors live a fairy-tale life, but that isn't so, at least not in the case of Tomi Ungerer. For his well-crafted first feature-length documentary, former VH1 "Behind the Music" producer Brad Bernstein corners the 81-year-old Ungerer and coaxes him to relay his life story before the camera. Born in Strasbourg, Ungerer describes his childhood as traumatizing but also sees it as the key to his incredibly vast imagination. Moving to New York in the 1950s, Ungerer found fame creating children's books that turned unlikely creatures, such as snakes, bats, and octopuses, into heroes. But Ungerer didn't limit his art to kiddie fare and was outspoken about world politics which eventually led to his (temporary) banishment. Peppering in delightful animation and interviews with the likes of the late Maurice Sendak, Jules Feiffer and Steven Heller, Bernstein's enchanting portrait brings this terrific talent out from behind his drawing pencil. And, we're thankful for it.