Marwencol (2010, Jeff Malmberg)

Mark was badly beaten, and after therapy, becomes a different person, with little memory of his previous self (a drunk, an artist, a navy officer). Almost the only thing that remains is his penchant for cross-dressing (shoes and stockings). He creates a world of action figures for therapy, puts himself and his friends (plus crushes, fictional characters, his attackers, the filmmaker) in there, and takes gorgeous photographs which become celebrated in the art world.

That’s definitely an interesting subject, worthy of a documentary, and the movie lives up to its potential. Malmberg befriended Mark over the four year shoot, got him to open up about his feelings, his life and his little town, so it feels much deeper than a tabloid news story. And Mark is aware of what he’s doing, conscious that he’s a grown man playing with dolls, that he suffers from anxiety since the attack and that he’s created his own therapy through his Marwencol, but still able to lose himself in the stories he creates, then to step back and stage these photographs.

Unbelievable ending – Mark’s character inside Marwencol (I thought he looked like Daniel Craig, but the internet suggests Nicolas Cage), having been savagely beaten by nazi S.S. soldiers, creates a tiny model town of his own.

Won a whole pile of awards. Shot over four years on DV and super-8. The director and producer had previously worked together on Paris Hilton’s Razzie-award-winning The Hottie and the Nottie.

Related posts