Marwencol (film)

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MARWENCOL poster 72dpi.jpg
Directed byJeff Malmberg
Produced byJeff Malmberg
Tom Putnam
Matt Radecki
Chris Shellen
Kevin W. Walsh
StarringMark Hogancamp
Music byAsh Black Bufflo[1]
Edited byJeff Malmberg
Open Face
Distributed byThe Cinema Guild
Release date
  • October 8, 2010 (2010-10-08)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

Marwencol (also known as Village of the Dolls in the UK[2][3]) 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. It was the inspiration for Welcome to Marwen, a 2018 drama directed by Robert Zemeckis.[4][5]


On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death after he told them he was a cross-dresser.[6] After nine days in a coma and forty days in the hospital, Hogancamp was discharged with brain damage that left him little memory of his previous life. Unable to afford therapy, he 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," blending the names "Mark," "Wendy" and "Colleen."

Hogancamp was initially discovered by photographer David Naugle, who documented and shared his story with Esopus magazine.[7]


The film was shot in New York State between 2006 and 2010, using a combination of DVCAM video and Super-8 film formats.[8]


The film received widespread critical acclaim, holding a 98% approval rating out of a total of 59 reviews on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The site awarded the film its "Golden Tomato" Award for the best-reviewed documentary of the year.[10] The Los Angeles Times called the film "an exhilarating, utterly unique experience" while the Village Voice said that it's "exactly the sort of mysterious and almost holy experience you hope to get from documentaries and rarely do."

The film was in the year-end top ten lists of the Boston Globe,[11] The Globe and Mail,[12] Slate,[13] New York magazine,[14] The Oregonian,[15] National Public Radio,[16] and many others.

The film was included in Entertainment Weekly's July 6, 2012 article "50 Best Movies You've Never Seen".[17]

In the 2012 Slate article and online poll, "The Golden Age of Documentaries: What's the Best Doc of the Last 5 Years?", Marwencol was ranked #1 in the poll.[18]

In the 2012 PBS/POV online poll, "The 100 Greatest Documentaries of All Time", Marwencol was ranked #91 in the poll.[19]

In the April 22, 2013 New York article, "How Documentary Became the Most Exciting Kind of Filmmaking", Marwencol was among the films in the accompanying list, "The 20 Essential Documentaries of the Century".[20]

In September 2016, Cinema Eye Honors named Marwencol as one of the 20 top non-fiction films of the past decade, based on a poll of 110 key figures in the documentary community.[21]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2013, Robert Zemeckis began work on a dramatization of the story for Universal Studios based on a script by Caroline Thompson.[4] Welcome to Marwen is set to be released in December 2018, starring Steve Carell as Hogancamp.[5]

The ninth episode of the second season of Fox sitcom Raising Hope ("The Men of New Natesville") is an homage to the film.[22]

The Spike Jonze-directed music video for the Beastie Boys song "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" was inspired by the film and Hogancamp's world.[23]

The Russian musical group The Saint Petersburg Disco Spin Club released a track in 2011, "Marwencol".[24]

The American punk rock group Tough Broad released the 2012 song, "Marwencol".[25]

Awards and accolades[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Welcome to Marwencol, Princeton Architectural Press, 2015. (ISBN 978-1616894153)


  1. ^ Peter Debruge (March 30, 2010). "Marwencol (Documentary)". Variety. Retrieved 2011-05-13. ... music, Ash Black Bufflo...
  2. ^ "Marwencol / Village of the Dolls - The Skinny". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Marwencol (Village of the Dolls) on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b [1]"Robert Zemeckis to Direct 'Marwencol' for Universal" "The Hollywood Reporter"
  5. ^ a b [2] "Universal Dates Robert Zemeckis-Helmed Steve Carell Pic for November 2018"
  6. ^ Green, Penelope (2011-04-06). "In a Tiny Universe, Room to Heal". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Hogancamp, Mark (Fall 2005). "Marwencol on My Mind". Esopus. Archived from the original on 2006-05-11.
  8. ^ Lanthier, Joseph Jon (2010-12-02). "2010 Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award--Cutting a Path of Understanding: Jeff Malmberg". International Documentary Association. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  9. ^ [3]"Marwencol"
  10. ^ [4]"2010 Golden Tomato Awards"
  11. ^ Burr, Ty (2010-12-26). "In this pivotal year, documentaries had the most movie mystery". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  12. ^ "Rick Groen and Liam Lacey's best films of 2010". The Globe and Mail. 2010-12-30. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  13. ^ Stevens, Dana (2010-12-29). "Wow". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  14. ^ Edelstein, David (2010-12-05). "The Year in Movies". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  15. ^ "Stan Hall's Best Films of 2010". 2010-12-30. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  16. ^ Edelstein, David (2010-12-23). "Flicks, Picked: Best And Worst Films Of 2010". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  17. ^ [5]"50 Best Movies You've Never Seen" Entertainment Weekly
  18. ^ [6]"The Golden Age of Documentaries: What's the Best Doc of the Last 5 Years?" Slate
  19. ^ [7]"The 100 Greatest Documentaries"
  20. ^ [8]"How Documentary Became the Most Exciting Kind of Filmmaking" 'Vulture
  21. ^ [9]"
  22. ^ [10]"The Men of New Natesville" "AV Club"
  23. ^ [11]"Spike Jonze's New Beastie Boys Video Sets Course For Marwencol" Bleeding Cool
  24. ^ [12]"The Saint Petersburg Disco Spin Club - Marwencol" Sound Cloud
  25. ^ [13]"Marwencol Tough Broad" Band Camp
  26. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2011-01-19."2011 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD FILMMAKER GRANT WINNERS ANNOUNCED" Film Independent
  27. ^ [14][permanent dead link]"2011 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED" Film Independent
  28. ^ a b [15]"BSFC Award Winners"
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2013-08-03."TFCA Names The Social Network Best Picture of 2010"
  30. ^ [16]"Take Shelter leads Detroit critics nods"
  31. ^ [17]"Banksy, "Waste Land" Among IDA Documentary Award Nominees"
  32. ^ [18]"EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP Takes Top Award at 2011 Cinema Eye Honors" Cinema Eye Honors
  33. ^ [19] "12th Annual Golden Tomato Awards"
  34. ^ [20] "SXSW announces award winners" Variety
  35. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-27. "Congratulations to the 2010 CCI:IFF Winners"
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-07-27. ""Marwencol," "The Reverse" Lead Seattle Film Fest Winners" IndieWIRE
  37. ^ [21] "Attendance Surges at Hot Docs" Variety
  38. ^ [22] "Silverdocs Juries Reward "Mommy" and "5 Elephants"" IndieWIRE
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-16. Retrieved 2010-11-03."FILMPREISE BEI DER VIENNALE 2010" (in German)
  40. ^ [23]"FILM FEST: Awards honor Keanu Reeves, Kingston-based documentary"
  41. ^ [24][permanent dead link]"10WFF Final Awards press release"
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-27. |"34th Cleveland International Film Festival Awards"
  43. ^ [25] "IFFBoston 2010 Wrap-Up"
  44. ^ [26]"FANTASIA 2010 AUDIENCE AWARDS / PRIX DU PUBLIC announced!"
  45. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-02-22. |"Belfast Film Festival"
  46. ^ [27] |"International Celebration of Lives"

External links[edit]