Marwencol is a 2010 American documentary film that explores the life and work of artist and photographer Mark Hogancamp. It is the debut feature of director-editor Jeff Malmberg.On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death. After nine days in a coma and forty days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with brain damage that left him little memory of his previous life. Unable to afford therapy, Mark creates his own by building a 1/6-scale World War II-era Belgian town in his yard and populating it with dolls representing himself, his friends, and even his attackers. He calls that town “Marwencol,” a portmanteau of the names “Mark,” “Wendy” and “Colleen.” He rehabilitates his physical wounds by manipulating the small dolls and props — and his mental ones by having the figures act out various battles and stories.
When Mark begins documenting his miniature dramas with his camera, his photos are discovered and published by Esopus magazine and even shown in a New York art gallery. But having the label of “art” applied to his intensely personal work forces Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world he’s avoided since his attack.