Apr 26, 2011

Marwencol: A Documentary Worth Checking Out

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.


  1. I'll have to check this out. It looks beautiful!

  2. This is really inspiring..I'm so glad he found the strength to cope with such a traumatizing event. Its inspiring to see that it didn't destroy him.

    I checked it out on Netflix and it was one of the best documentaries I'd seen in years. Really wonderful.