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Marwencol (Village of the Dolls)

Mark Hogancamp , Jeff Malmberg    DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £13.06
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Product details

  • Actors: Mark Hogancamp
  • Directors: Jeff Malmberg
  • Format: Import, PAL, Dolby
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 946187197X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,508 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Import from The Netherlands, with English soundtrack.
"An exhilarating, utterly unique experience." --Kevin Thomas, LA Times
"An astounding movie - one of those tales of all-american oddness that just keeps flowering into weirder, richer territory." --Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"GRADE: A-! I can barely describe the wonders of Marwencol." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

Product Description
Outside a small bar in Kingston, NY, Mark Hogancamp was beaten nearly to death, his memories wiped away. Seeking recovery, he builds Marwencol, a miniature World War II-era town filled with doll versions of his friends, fantasies, and even his attackers. As he documents the town s dramas with his camera, the dolls become living characters in an epic tale of love, adventure, resurrection and revenge. When his photos are discovered by the art world, Mark is suddenly forced to choose between the safety of his imaginary world and the real world he s avoided since the attack.
Winner of over a dozen awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards and Best Documentary of the Year from Boston Society of Film Critics.

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World War 2 dolls 5 May 2011
By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
after a violent assault destroyed his memory, New York illustrator Mark Hogencamp had to try to rebuild his life. Living alone in the country, he fabricated his own world, Marwencol, a World War 2 town in Belgium populated by Barbie & Ken type dolls. Through the storylines that he creates and photographs, Hogencamp works through some of the trauma he has suffered; from his alter-ego doll getting a pasting from the SAS (but getting his revenge later) to the loneliness of his life which he somewhat alleviates by having various female dolls representing specific unattainable women he meets in everyday life. Hogencamp's skilful photography ultimately leads to an art exhibition in NY. This is a fascinating documentary, combining much footage of Marwencol with commentary by the artist
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a surprising little film. Mark Hogancamp is the victim of an unprovoked attack, and subsequently dissapears into a fantasy world populated by inanimate people that represent friends, enemies, fears and desires - the building blocks of fiction. The town that houses them is called Marwencol, and Mark documents the things that happen in it with a lovingly framed/composed collection of photographs, which grows into something even Mark didn't expect.

By the end of the film you discover a lot more about Mark - things that he himself had to rediscover after the incident - and these dicoveries in turn get assimilated into the imaginary World of Marwencol. It's that extraordinary!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply unbelievable 25 April 2012
Scrap psychologists, the hero of this documentary (and i really mean 'hero') came up with his own therapy to heal himself.
Nowadays, it's rare to find a documentary that gives hope and puts a smile on your face. And here comes 'Marwencol'. The story itself is hard to believe. Just watch it. Please.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life In Miniature--An Intriguing Documentary About Art, Therapy, And Life As A Doll 28 April 2011
By K. Harris - Published on
I caught a glimpse of the fascinating, yet decidedly odd, documentary "Marwencol" at the Independent Spirit Awards this year and have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to view it. Hard to categorize, this tale of persevering and triumphing over tragedy has all the earmarks of a feel good story of uplift, but has such a melancholy sadness underneath the surface--it is bound to elicit conflicting emotions within different viewers. One thing, however, that is impossible to deny--the subject matter is strikingly unique and extremely personal. The film profiles a contemporary artist Mark Hogancamp. After a brutal beating, Hogancamp suffered brain damage, a disruption of motor functions and a great deal of memory loss. When his therapy treatment ended, he continued to pursue an alternate course to wellness. Devising a fantasy world inhabited by dolls, he created a World War II village and envisioned a fantastical back story about its inhabitants. With himself playing the lead (he and his friends are all represented in the tableau by alter ego dolls), he enacted love and retribution in a land torn with violence.

He also painstakingly and meticulously photographed his world--and this surprisingly original voice was soon discovered by the contemporary art scene. A reluctant talent, to be sure, the project took on levels of interest that he could never have originally foreseen. The film is, first and foremost, an exploration of the artistic process and a modern character study. It's fascinating to see how real life occurrences materialize as dramatic plot points within his imagination. And that's what he's most proud of--he hasn't lost the ability to imagine. But despite the successes, his loneliness and sadness never seem far removed--and yet he continues on, yearning for connections in the real world as strong as those he has created. The art work, itself, is fascinating stuff and beautifully rendered.

The film is alternately amusing and disturbing--an intriguing combination. We get to see a fully formed Mark Hogancamp complete with eccentricities and moments of brilliant insight. For me, however, I'd have liked a bit more content about life before the attack. We don't get a lot of back story and what we do get points to an unhappy and repressed alcoholic existence. And as the violent episode redefined the man (he no longer drinks, yet maintains other unorthodox proclivities), perhaps the film stands as a testament of something greater. Not just to survive a beating and to come out intact, but a realignment of a life in free fall. But without any real insight into the demons Hogancamp faced prior to the incident, we'll never realize how truly different a man he has become. Still, a fascinating and unusual peek inside a realm that borders both madness and genius--this should be appreciated by documentary and independent film lovers. KGHarris, 4/11.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, tender, and subtle 27 April 2011
By Cmcgraw - Published on
I found the documentary to be fascinating and uplifting. Uplifting because this gentle spirit manages to recover some dignity of life after his tragedy and creates this wonderful, evocative world-fantasy that he, at some level, lives in - that comforts him - but that he understands is not real. Populated with his real-life friends and his archetypal enemies, his fantasies and his realities, it is, in the end, a more righteous place than the world we live in.
And he is such a complex and interesting man. So private, but so honest and forthright when he talks about himself.
And then there is the story itself. Of a man that experienced such hate and suffering and somehow came through it to create this strange, private world.
I loved the film. I think you might, also.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful glimpse into one man's struggle with the past 20 Aug 2011
By sparky_magic_rainbow - Published on
This wasn't an easy video to watch because the subject matter -- a brutal
beating and loss of self -- was heart wrenching. Mark Hogancamp is an artist
in the truest sense. He creates out of a deep need to make sense of his life
and isn't swayed by commercial interests. The WWII town of Marwencol and its
brave and brooding dolls cast a strange spell on me. Recommended this to all
my artsy friends.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can't look away 21 April 2011
By Mary M - Published on
I'm rating this film high not because of the actual production of it, but because of the overall fascination I felt for quite some time after viewing it. I kept mulling it over and marvelling.

The demonstration of Mr. Hogancamp's artistic obsession with his little village and the extent to which he went for authentication; the creativity and imagination he demonstrates; his finely detailed work on all the pieces along with the vast amount of time it must have taken on a daily basis not to mention the monetary expense he went to is mind-blowing.

The content of the film enables it to stand on its own without directorial or scriptual interpretations or embellishments for it is a film about a truly unique person and how many of those do we encounter in this world?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marwencol Blu-ray 16 Jun 2011
By ska08hemi - Published on
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I can't effectively describe how amazing, heart-warming and inspirational this movie is. You will want to fly out and give him a giant hug and help him build things after watching it.
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