When you visit a film festival, you are sure to find plenty of films that seem odd in subject matter and some that have odd names. Marwencol can own up to both of those distinctions. In the end though, the film can call itself the Best Documentary Feature of SXSW 2010, and my favorite documentary of recent memory.
When I think of my favorite documentaries, Dear Zachary and King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters come to mind. Marwencol has now found a home in my top three. Marwencol was the first film I chose to watch here at SXSW, and it’s always great to start out with a winner. The documentary follows a man named Mark Hogancamp who survived a near fatal beating and has to re-learn how to do everything. Director Jeff Malmberg stumbled onto Mark’s coping mechanism. Hogancamp created an entire fictional town out of miniatures, and assimilates real people from his life into his own world called Marwencol.
Film is a beautiful medium. It is only once in a great while that you have a chance to see a subject matter that is so arresting, that it transcends the film and grabs your soul. Marwencol shows how in life, beauty and truth can come from hate and violence. The film affected me in a very great way, and I am sure some of you can agree. Hogancamp’s fictional town feels so true, and so genuine. Even though Marwencol is a static world, it is poetry in motion…A place where you can feel love, pain and and hope simultaneously. None of this would be possible however if it weren’t for the direction of director Jeff Malmberg.
This is his first feature and I can guarantee, not his last. He commands the film in a way most beginning directors fail at, he found an amazing subject and just let it speak to the audience, literally and figuratively. The film is easily one of my favorites of the fest, and I went out of my way to let a lot of people know that. My hope is that you watch the interview, see the film and take a stroll through Marwencol. I enjoyed every minute of it.
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