7.6/10
3,360
17 user 70 critic

Marwencol (2010)

Trailer
2:22 | Trailer
After a vicious attack leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.

Director:

Jeff Malmberg
20 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Mark Hogancamp Mark Hogancamp ... Self
Emmanuel Nneji Emmanuel Nneji ... Self
Edda Hogancamp Edda Hogancamp ... Self
Tom Neubauer Tom Neubauer ... Self
Julie Swarthout Julie Swarthout ... Self
Janet Wikane Janet Wikane ... Self
Mark Wikane Mark Wikane ... Self
Bert Bert ... Self
Lisa Bruck Lisa Bruck ... Herrself
Colleen Vargo Colleen Vargo ... Self
David Naugle David Naugle ... Self
Ruthie Hotaling Ruthie Hotaling ... Self
Tod Lippy Tod Lippy ... Self
Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A victim of a brutal attack finds a unique and beautiful therapeutic outlet to help him through his recovery process.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Steve Carell, Falk Hentschel, Matt O'Leary
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Parking Lot Movie is a documentary about a singular parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia. The film follows a select group of parking lot attendants and their strange rite of passage... See full summary »

Director: Meghan Eckman
Stars: Patrick Baran, John Beers, Chris Farina
Winnebago Man (2009)
Documentary | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jack Rebney is the most famous man you've never heard of - after cursing his way through a Winnebago sales video, Rebney's outrageously funny outtakes became an underground sensation and ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Steinbauer
Stars: Jack Rebney, Ben Steinbauer, Keith Gordon
Tabloid (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two individuals, Jeff and Kelly, claim to be in love with the 80's pop singer Tiffany.

Director: Sean Donnelly
Stars: Kelly McCormick, Tiffany, Jeff Turner
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Broken, desperate men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

Director: Jesse Moss
Stars: Jay Reinke, Andrea Reinke, Alan Mezo
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When two friends tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbors, they accidentally created one of the world's first 'viral' pop-culture sensations.

Director: Matthew Bate
Stars: Eddie Lee Sausage, Mitch Deprey, Daniel Clowes
Spellbound (2002)
Documentary | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar
Waste Land (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.

Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Vik Muniz
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An exploration of the careers of four unrelated professionals: a lion tamer, a robotics expert, a topiary gardener, and a naked mole rat specialist.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Adapted from The Paul Street Boys, an autobiographical novel by Ferenc Molnar, GLORY is an unusually sensitive evocation of the pain of youth and the senselessness of war. Frail Nemecsek, a... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Frankie Darro, George P. Breakston, Jimmy Butler
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers.

Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers, John Rogers
Edit

Storyline

"Marwencol" is a documentary about the fantasy world of Mark Hogancamp. After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populates the town he dubs "Marwencol" with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town's many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helps Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds of the attack. When Mark and his photographs are discovered, a prestigious New York gallery sets up an art show. Suddenly Mark's homemade therapy is deemed "art", forcing him to choose between the safety of his fantasy life in Marwencol and the real world that he's avoided since the attack. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When his world was stolen, Mark Hogancamp made a world of his own.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

For the film's premiere Mark prepared a story line including the delivery by courier of a 1/6th scale press kit to the village of Marwencol. See more »

Quotes

Mark Hogancamp: I was like an elephant left in charge of the peanuts.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Raising Hope: The Men of New Natesville (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

We Did It Before
Written by Tobias Friend
Performed by Clyde Lucas and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

A tender mix of art and therapy
13 April 2011 | by The_Film_CricketSee all my reviews

The very first thing that one notices about Mark Hogancamp are his eyes. They are small and look a little tired, as if he just woke up from a long sleep. There is no distance in his eyes, they don't seem to contain memories. Rather, they seem very much focused on the present. When he speaks he has a sweet-natured voice, solemn and intelligent. There is no regret in his demeanor despite his age which I range at about somewhere in his mid-40s.

The manner in which Hogancamp carries himself is specifically rooted in an incident that changed his life. On April 8, 2000, he was leaving a bar when he was attacked by five men who beat him almost to death. The men were arrested and Hogancamp spent nine days in a coma and forty days in the hospital. When he woke up, he had severe brain damage and most of his memory was gone. Years after his incident, his brain is still a little mushy. He works a quiet job, oddly enough, at The Anchorage, the same bar where he was attacked. Not having memories of the attack, he has no anxieties about working there.

The documentary 'Marwencol' settles firmly on Hogancamp who says that due to his injury he has no real memories, only flashes of memory, like snapshots. He knows of his past because of diary entries written before the attack. He reads them, but doesn't recognize the person who wrote them. He knows that that man was an alcoholic, who was bitter and angry, but he also knows that he had an artistic talent. He shows us sketches that are not out of the ordinary. After the attack, he could no longer draw because his hands shook too much.

He could not afford therapy, so he made his own. In his back yard, he created the tiny, fictional town of Marwencol, a Belgian World War II-era town made of dolls and small buildings. His dolls represent people in his life. His own alter-ego is a hero-type that has a head the looks a little like Harrison Ford. His mother's alter-ego has a head that came from a Pussy Galore doll. His former girlfriend is represented by a Barbie doll. He collects his dolls and studies them, trying to see who they could represent. When he puts his dolls inside the model, they don't just stand stiffly, but they seem modulated as if frozen in a moment of action.

Marwencol becomes Hogancamp's entire world. He creates each character down to the most finite detail, including a backstory. He tells us the stories of what goes on in Marwencol, not as play acting but as if it is really happening. He tells about how his alter-ego wandered into the town and settled down to open a bar. No one is allowed to fight in Marwencol, the only fights are staged catfights inside the bar. Then the Nazi's showed up and he corralled all of the citizenry into his bar while the Nazis kicked down doors trying to find out where it was. His employer Rose is stunned to find that her alter-ego was killed by the Nazis because she wouldn't talk.

What becomes apparent as he tells the story is that Hogancamp isn't just playing with dolls, he is finding a manner in which to deal with his trauma. His alter-ego in Marwencol, is stripped and beaten by the SS just as he was in real life. He cannot remember the attack, he just feeds off of information from his assailant's testimony and from what he has been told. The play acting is a manner in which he can piece that moment together and deal with it on a realistic level.

It is hard to really describe what makes 'Marwencol' really special. It is a quiet, tenderly beautiful story of a man who stepped back from the edge of a near-fatal incident and creates his own therapy through art. The photos he takes of his tiny town are crisp and beautiful (I have featured some of them below). The characters seem alive even though his subjects are immobile. He modulates every single tiny detail perfectly. It is a futile exercise in trying to understand the effect this movie has on you once you let yourself be carried away by Hogancamp's imagination. He takes us so solidly and so convincingly into his tiny man-made world that, after a while, we forget that we are simply looking at dolls. It sounds strange, but I felt I got to know the people Marwencol so well that when one of the women in town left her boyfriend for another man, I felt a little sad.

***1/2 (of four)


19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Facebook Fan Page | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marwencol See more »

Filming Locations:

Kingston, New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,276, 10 October 2010

Gross USA:

$112,036

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$112,036
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Open Face See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed