Marwencol is a documentary dealing with the fantasy world of Mark Hogencamp, a man who suffered unspeakable trauma but found a very special way to deal with it after the fact. After being beaten into a coma by five strangers on a fateful day and suffering brain damage, he emerged with no memories of his past and set out to reconstruct it with the help of a 1/6th scale WW2 era town that he built in his backyard. In this town he placed avatars of himself, his friends, his family and set out to build a society in which he could deal with his psychological scars and frustrations.
The documentary was just recently released on Netflix, and I found it fascinating. In a way the concept of having an avatar to escape reality has become a very pervasive method of dealing or escaping the hardships of life for many. Whether you log into an MMO and immerse yourself in a seperate world, to playing a game of D&D, in a way its a way of taking a break from the usually less than ideal reality we live in.
The difference with Mark is that he used his town and figurines as a legitimate method of self therapy...From rebuilding social skills, to regaining his creativity, to regaining his motor skills. The director, Jeff Malmberg did a great job presenting the intricate world of this reclusive man in a respectful manner. This is definitely unlike anything you'll ever see.
An excerpt: "Be Whoever You Want"
Every picture tells a story. A look into the mind of Mark Hogencamp. All photos and quotes below from the official Marwencol website.
|My brother Mike drives General Patton into Marwencol so he can inspect our troops...|
|When my P-40 Warhawk got hit, I crash landed in Belgium near the Mulva River. As I was walking along the river I saw three Russian women. They brought me to the town they were defending - called Marwencol...|
|A Wehrmacht MG-34 gunner at his guard post, back when the Allies and Axis first shared the town of Marwencol.|
|The "protectors" of Marwencol, returning from a patrol and re-entering my town.|
|These two Nazis are prepped for a public hanging in Marwencol Square after causing so much pain, misery, and suffering in and around Marwencol for so many years...|
|In war friends are made and friends are lost... forever.|
|In this photo, I get ready to jump out of a Jeep and into my plane to fight the Luftwaffe in the skies over Belgium.|