Welcome to Marwencol by Mark E. HogancampIn April 2000, Mark Hogancamp was beaten and left for dead outside a bar in his hometown of Kingston, NY. Waking from a nine-day coma, he had no memory of the thirty-eight prior years of his life, including his ex-wife, family, artistic talents, or military service. To reconstruct his past, Hogancamp built, in his backyard, Marwencol, an imaginary village set in World War II Belgium, where everybody is welcome—Germans, Americans, French, British, and Russians—as long as peace is kept. With 1:6 scale action figures and Barbie dolls, as well as toy armaments and meticulously built props, buildings, and clothes, Marwencol is an alternate reality, created with painstaking (and sometimes painful) realism and obsessive attention to detail.
Here, riveting wartime dramas are played out and photographed in saturated hues and unflinching detail. The emotional narrative mirrors the artists own: through Marwencol, Hogancamp regained his cognitive facilities.
Welcome to Marwencol is an astonishing story of the redemptive power of art—of art as therapy and act of obsession.
Independent Lens - Marwencol - Trailer - PBS
Why ‘Welcome To Marwen’ Was Unwelcome At The Box Office: Robert Zemeckis Pic To Lose Around $60M
The Welcome to Marwen true story confirms that on April 8, , five men jumped thenyear-old Mark Hogancamp outside of the Luny Tune Saloon in Kingston, New York, after he had informed one of them that he liked to dress in both men's and women's clothing. At home, he had a closet filled with over pair of women's boots and pumps that he is thought to have worn to feel close to women. He was attracted to women but was sure they would reject him. Following the attack depicted in the movie, Mark is found by a waitress named Wendy, with whom he is in love. In real life, Mark was found by a bartender named Nora Noonan, who helped get him to the hospital before he drowned in the blood that was filling his lungs. A Welcome to Marwen fact-check reveals that Mark had to testify more than once.
I thought that was really magnificent. In order for Welcome To Marwen to work, Zemeckis knew it was integral that these animated sequences blended perfectly with the real world scenes, especially when it came to tone. It is a balance that you have to do in most stories that you tell. I could do that in the doll world, but not in the real world with Mark. As an outline if you will.