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Marwencol - Movie Review - 2010

Rebirth Through Art

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


In April 2000, Mark Hogancamp lost his life, and got it back. He was literally beaten to death in a drunken brawl in a Kingston, NY bar. When paramedics resuscitated him, he had no recollection of anything about his identity or personal past.

Gradually, as a form of therapy, he began to construct a model town in his back yard. It was called Marwencol, and it was the replica of an imaginary French community during World War II.

Life Acted Out Through Art

The town was populated by dolls, each of which represented someone in Hogancamp's past or present or imaginary life and he, creating a doll for himself, was at the core of daily doings in Marwencol.

As the town and its residents developed, Hogancamp created an ongoing story that sort of became his alternate reality.

Hogancamp photographed all that happened in Marwencol, and created a body of art work that eventually attracted the attention of filmmaker Jeff Malmberg, who began a four year stint of documenting Hogancamp's process for this film.

Hogancamp is a very interesting and talented subject, and Malmberg's profile beautifully captures his character. It is also a fascinating investigation of how identity, memory and creativity are intertwined in artistic endeavor. And, while Hogancamp's situation and predicaments might be representative of what others with traumatic amnesia might experience, his story has some unique twists that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat.

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Film Details:

  • Title: Marwencol
  • Director: Jeff Malmberg
  • Release Date: October 8, 2010 (limited)
  • Running Time: 83 mins.
  • Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
  • Location: Kingston, New York
  • Language: English
  • Distribution Company: Cinema Guild
  • Trailer

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