Friday, April 29, 2011
This is a really poignant documentary, the subject of which you likely have heard of someplace: this guy Mark Hogancamp was beaten nearly to death outside a bar by a bunch of teenaged thugs and suffered severe though not completely debilitating brain damage. He then took to creating this stunningly elaborate model of a fictional WWII-era Belgian town called Marwencol, and taking thousands of photographs of dolls enacting melodramatic stories within it. He's clearly messed up in a lot of ways, but also pretty self-aware. It's just so pleasant to watch a very talented person making art that is deeply personal and compulsive and totally divorced from "ambition" as we know it. It's a story rather tailor made for the "This American Life" crowd, but don't let that stop you from seeing it. Also it's amazing the shit that one can buy in a small-town "hobby shop" -- tiny guns with removable clips, and the subtle articulation of these doll bodies. Who makes this stuff? I wouldn't mind watching a documentary about them.