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Poster of Marwencol   (2010)

"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.

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Review

Deeply moving documentary about a man, Mark Hogancamp, who suffered a vicious beating at the hands of some thugs who followed him home from a bar. He suffered some pretty horrible brain damage, losing most of his memories. To deal with the pain, Mark created a fantasy world, a small Belgian town in the midst of WWII, Marwencol, populated with dolls which represent people from his own life. The filmmaking is pretty standard doc stuff, but it's well done and the director handles the big reveals fantastically. Hogancamp is such a wonderfully interesting person - and the stories he tells about Marwencol are actually gripping themselves - that I was completely caught up in the movie. It's easily one of last year's best films.