Mark Hogancamp

marwencol miniature

Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary Marwencol is one of the most interesting, immersive nonfiction stories that has been put together in the past few years. If it was just about a guy who was beat so bad by a group of drunk young men that he had to figure out a way to piece his fractured mind back together afterward, it probably would have been interesting enough. If it was just about a grown man who was so good at playing with dolls that the pictures he took of the little scenarios he concocted with them eventually got put into art galleries, it probably would have been interesting enough. But Marwencol combines both these stories and other layers that shouldn’t be given away to create a moviegoing experience that’s sometimes unsettling, often strangely comforting, but always rich. It’s kind of like movie lasagna. The subject of the film is a man named Mark Hogancamp, who was the victim of the aforementioned beating, and who dealt with his trauma by creating and photographing the aforementioned doll world. To be more specific, Hogancamp took the people and places he knew, and he recreated them through the lens of a fictional World War II-era Belgian town called Marwencol that was known for its bounty of friendly hookers, the brutality of its SS raids, and the blue-haired, time traveling witch named Deja Thoris who called it home. All of that sounds pretty weird, right? That’s why Robert Zemeckis thinks it’s the perfect material to tackle […]

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