Friday, 4 November 2011

film review: marwencol

I just found this review up on The Skinny's site, which i wrote back at the beginning of the year and promptly forgot about. Marwencol's already been shown on 4OD under the name Village of the Dolls, and it's well worth checking out should it get repeated any time soon...

Eleven years ago, Mark Hogancamp was beaten into a coma, wiping his memories. Unable to pay for professional therapy, Mark built the tiny titular town of Marwencol and populated it with 1/6 scale alter-egos of real-life friends, family and acquaintances, exorcising fears and realising hopes through a miniature world of his own creation. He photographs his Lilliput for prosperity, and the World War 2-themed images soon catch the eye of the art world. They’re remarkable not only for their lifelike detail, but for the poignancy evoked by their painstaking positioning, the tableaux brought to life by Hogancamp’s surreal storytelling (stocked with buxom beauties, Nazis and time-travelling witches). The film might be accused of exploitation if Hogancamp didn’t appear so comfortable with the filmmakers’ presence; director Jeff Malmberg even earns a diminutive twin of his own. Throughout, the mixture of whimsy and suffering is well balanced, inviting the viewer to empathise with Mark’s pain, yet marvel at his unfettered imagination.

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