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Ten Word or Less Review: Good doc about one of a kind subject.

The fascianting subject of this documentary is Mark Hogancamp.  Several years ago Mark was beaten within inches of his life outside of a bar by five lowlifes who wanted to stomp him to death because they thought he was gay.  He wasn’t, he just really likes women’s shoes.  Mark lost most of his memory and physical abilites and had to start from scratch at the age of 35.  While he overcame most of the physical effects of the event, it left him with no desire for alcohol as an odd plus, his mental ones took some unforseen turns.

Seeking a way to cope with his anger and sense of lose, Mark built the town of Marwencol, a 1/6th scale WWII camp populated with G.I. Joe’s and Barbie Dolls, each one a stand in for someone in Mark’s life, including himself.  He constructs detailed stories about life in Marwencol with his 1′ avatar the center of attention.  Mark’s stories are sometimes touching, often savage, WWII tales which echo the reality Mark tries to live with.  His friends and family each have little substitutes that inhabit the small, weird world he’s methodically constructed.  In addition to this, Mark positions his figures in precise places and photographs them, accomplishing a bizarre but very sincere form of storytelling. His photo’s are often shining examples of miniature photography.

As a documentary Marwencol is a little unpolished and like Mark’s story itself, there’s no real conclusion to be found. The movie culminates with Mark’s work being put on display in a New York art museum, his feelings about which seem very conflicted. It’s a unique story and despite the rather minor feeling of the filmmaking itself, Marwencol will probably capture the attention of many who watch it.


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