Dave Finally Watches: Marwencol

Marwencol is a fascinating and engrossing documentary. It tells the story of Mark Hogancamp who, after a brutal assault that took his memories from him, created a new existence…in 1/6 scale. He has created a World War II village called “Marwencol”, populated by dolls patterned after people in his life. The details he puts into the village are fascinating, moving, and frightening. This is Mark’s therapy, and it shows.

Marwencol is also one of those rare documentaries that doesn’t interfere with its subject. While it’s impossible for a point of view not to emerge, for the most part it keeps the focus square on Mark, simply letting him explain Marwencol without making any outside judgments.

While it seems as though a documentary about a trauma victim who therapeutically creates an imaginary war-torn village with dolls might not be able to offer up any surprises along the way, it does, and the way these developments are handled is another testament to the filmmakers’ light footprint here.

I highly recommend Marwencol, which is available on Netflix Watch Instantly.

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3 Responses to Dave Finally Watches: Marwencol

  1. MichaelD says:

    I found it fascinating how he’d switch (unconsciously?) between talking about the doll as a doll, and talking about the doll as himself.

  2. pronoblem says:

    Best film I have seen in some time. Check out the website that the director created for Mark and his Marwencol.

    If you like this I would also recommend:

    The Cats of Mirikitani & In the Realms of the Unreal

  3. Scott says:

    Riveting. As a recovering alcoholic myself, I found it interesting that Mark’s trauma seems to have “cured” his alcoholism, at least in some respects. But still there was that unsettling echo of his past, that most of the violence in Marwencol was spurred by SS looking for alcohol (and especially the almost malevolent way Mark said “alcohol” or “booze” in such moments).