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Marwencol2010

  • 4.4
Outside a small bar in Kingston, New York, Mark Hogancamp was beaten nearly to death, his memories wiped away. Seeking recovery, he builds Marwencol, a miniature World War II-era town filled with doll versions of his friends, fantasies and even his attackers. As he documents the town’s dramas with his camera, the dolls become living characters in an epic tale of love, adventure, resurrection and revenge. When his photos are discovered by the art world, Mark is suddenly forced to choose between the safety of his imaginary world and the real world he’s avoided since the attack. Winner of over a dozen awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards and Best Documentary of the Year from Boston Society of Film Critics.

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Winner of "Best Documentary Feature" at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.


2 members like this review

I think the most fascinating episode of his doll narrative was when the barbie who had unrequited love for Mark's solider alter ego went back in time and, rather than preventing the torture, bailed him out after a lot of damage was already done.

I wonder if this is, as far as creative intention goes, a subliminal manifestation of violence and trauma as ineluctable, or whether Mark (or, hell, maybe Mark and his film crew, collaborating) concocted this harrowing feature of the narrative to elicit such a powerful and complex idea.

Something to think about.

Also: There's something special about the relationship between what Mark does w/ the miniature characters and setting he has produced and what the film does. There's a fascinating interplay between his personal production (the town and toy soldier characters of Marwencol) and his collaborative production w/ Jeff Malmberg and crew. The town of Marwencol and the film of Marwencol seem to be constructive if not therapeutic, as Mark suggests. Maybe the toy soldier stage is the first and safest stage of assimilation after such horrible trauma and then, in sharing w/ others, and inspiring other creative minds through this sharing, he moved onto the next stage of assimilation, beyond even the town down the road from Marwencol, to the art world of Greenwich Village and Fandor.

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Member Reviews (27)

I think the most fascinating episode of his doll narrative was when the barbie who had unrequited love for Mark's solider alter ego went back in time and, rather than preventing the torture, bailed him out after a lot of damage was already done.

I wonder if this is, as far as creative intention goes, a subliminal manifestation of violence and trauma as ineluctable, or whether Mark (or, hell, maybe Mark and his film crew, collaborating) concocted this harrowing feature of the narrative to elicit such a powerful and complex idea.

Something to think about.

Also: There's something special about the relationship between what Mark does w/ the miniature characters and setting he has produced and what the film does. There's a fascinating interplay between his personal production (the town and toy soldier characters of Marwencol) and his collaborative production w/ Jeff Malmberg and crew. The town of Marwencol and the film of Marwencol seem to be constructive if not therapeutic, as Mark suggests. Maybe the toy soldier stage is the first and safest stage of assimilation after such horrible trauma and then, in sharing w/ others, and inspiring other creative minds through this sharing, he moved onto the next stage of assimilation, beyond even the town down the road from Marwencol, to the art world of Greenwich Village and Fandor.

2 members like this review
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filmmaker

Not so sure about the former, but def yes to the latter... Excellent insight.

an altered state of brilliance with no detail left behind. i loved this documentary. everyone should take the time to enter into the world of Marwencol

1 member likes this review

My new favorite documentary of the century, an inspiring story about the healing and trans formative powers of imagination.

1 member likes this review
98917.small
filmmaker

This one is a slam dunk! Unlike a lot of the fest fave indies on this site, unfortunately, this film actually delivers in every conceivable way... I'd love to spend time in Marwencol:) I just hope Zemeckis doesn't sully the experience w/ a cheesy Hollywood version...

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top reviewer

Amazing.

at first i felt his leering at the naked barbies was kind of creepy, It was hard to see him interact with his "first love" as well. but eventually i realized as he had to relearn to walk his development was sort of reset, and he was not being creepy but speaking with a childlike innocence about sexuality and life in general.

Perhaps the most troubling part is the end, and the rather deep rabbit hole he falls into. is what his doll doing at the end not him signaling he is giving up on the real world? he says as much, and at what point does this "therapy" become a problem. when does he need to put that aside and embrace the "alive world" or at least to rely on his town less and less.

dont get me wrong i loved the film and it had me in tears, it was powerful it was beautiful. my saying this comes from genuine concern. i hope he has more positive moments like he did talking to the new yorkers at the end.

Watched it twice in a row. Even better the second time.

very creative and maybe a little crazy

People are the gifts that keep on giving. Even in the aftermath of a tragedy, the subject of this surprising documentary shows he cares by taking infinite pains to create an alternate reality he should have no first-hand knowledge of, let alone a connection to. Ah, sweet mystery of life. And bravo to the filmmaker who was wise enough to share him with the world.

Devastating, touching, odd, and remarkable. The unusual story of a man who deals with his trauma through a personal project that allows him the measure of control he needs to heal and understand his life and himself. Not only a great film about an existential problem, but also an insightful story about the artistic process as a road to understanding. A must-see!

A terrific doc. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

WoW

<3

wow...just fucking wow. AMAZING.

very poignant....loved it

Terrific. Loved how the film's story and Mark's personality were revealed degree by degree. The final "reveals" are terrific.

I just Love It...

The time and effort put into his project is staggering. I was moved and uplifted by the gentle wonder and simple kindness of the man that first discovered him. A truly fascinating and inspirational film.

A fascinating documentary depicting one man's overcoming adversity through art.

Marwencol built by Mark Hogancamp is more then fantastic. It was a journey from dispair to a life Mark was happy with. The movie is filled with love, tears, and happiness. I highly recomend this film to you.

Walter Bernstein

Orlando, Florida

oh my gosh this movie is fantastic - i loved it

Great fun watching ... it has memorable moments of why I like to be with dolls than be with humans.

Steve, I agree the doll scenes are amazing. You get this feeling that Hogancamp is role-playing this alternate reality story through his dolls, and that it's quite private and very healing for him. The film does a great job of making you think, leaving me with the feeling that there are layers of facts and psychology beneath what can be revealed in 80 minutes of film.

We found it fascinating, complex and moving. The doll versions are unbelievably real and such a special and profound part of Hogancamp's life after the beating. Unforgettable. 5 stars (our maximum rating.

fascinating and touching

I could not stop watching it! I loved it! It was sad, in a way. Yet, very inspiring. I want to see more of this man... His real world, and and his alter ego world.

I love it!! very inspiring!

Outstanding. ...