[For more information on Marwencol, seehttp://www.marwencol.com/ ]
Like all accomplished war photographers, Mark Hogancamp puts himself at risk.
He shoots fugitive moments of violence, anguish, and bravery. But Hogancamp’s work differs from others’ in one key respect: The combat zones he enters don’t entirely exist in the real world. It’s the battlefield of his emotions that he’s trying to capture on film.
Marwencol is a remarkable documentary about this peculiar man and the fictitious, painstakingly-detailed, 1/6-scale town he built in his yard. Set in Belgium during World War II and populated with dozens of buildings, military vehicles, and more than 100 foot-high, poseable action figures, Hogancamp’s simulacrum is called Marwencol.
“Everything’s real,’’ Hogancamp gushes at one point in the film, demonstrating how a tiny pistol in one soldier’s hands has a working hammer and replaceable clip. “That all adds to my ferocity of getting into the story. I know what’s inside every satchel,’’ he says.
Those contents include a stamp-size deed proving that Captain “Hogie’’ Hogancamp, the real man’s 12-inch alter ego, owns the doll-house-size, make-believe bar in this make-believe realm.
The fine line separating real from imagined is the focus of this poignant and provocative documentary, winner of the Jury Award for best documentary at the SXSW Film Festival. [Marwencol opens at selected theaters in more than 40 cities nationwide, starting in November and continuing into December and January. More info on theater dates here:http://www.marwencol.com/theaters/]