Marwencol: A Documentary About Identity
I’ve never seen a trailer or a concept quite like Marwencol, a documentary that explores identity in a totally unique way. I’ll let the filmmaker and the video clips speak for themselves.
Independent Lens: Marwencol
Sunday, May 8, 10:00 pm on WOSU TV
Friday, May 13, 1:00 am WOSU TV
On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar in Kingston, NY, by five men who beat him literally to death. Revived by paramedics, Mark had suffered brain damage and physical injuries so severe even his own mother didnâ€™t recognize him. After nine days in a coma and 40 days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with little memory of his previous life.
Unable to afford therapy, Mark decided to create his own. In his backyard, he built Marwencol, a 1/6th scale World War IIâ€era town that he populated with dolls representing his friends, family and even his attackers. He used the small dolls and props to redevelop his handâ€eye coordination, while he dealt with the psychic wounds from his attack through the townâ€™s many battles and dramas.
After a few years, Mark started documenting his miniature dramas with his camera. Through Markâ€™s lens, these were no longer dolls â€“ they were living, breathing characters in an epic WWII story full of violence, jealousy, longing and revenge. And he (or rather his alter ego, Captain Hogancamp) was the hero.
When Markâ€™s stunningly realistic photos are discovered and published in an art magazine, his homemade therapy suddenly becomes â€œart,â€ forcing Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world heâ€™s avoided since his attack.