2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Deceptively fine meditation on the healing power of art,
This review is from: Marwencol (DVD)
Context is meaning and can often frame art to make it much deeper. Director Malmberg knows this well and makes some excellent choices in Marwencol; there are so many ways to approach this story, and he found a wonderfully subtle, empathic narrative. We're given bits and pieces of the backstory, but the main point here is the powerful life in Mark's art. When you first see it, it has a certain resonance that can't be defined. It ain't your average dollhouse, to be sure.
As we learn about Mark and his ordeal and what caused it, the town and characters of Marwencol take on a much stronger level of meaning. They show us Mark's soul, his pain, his resolve, his sadness, and if we look cloesly enough we might even get a glimpse of our own fractured inner lives. But most of us haven't manifested them on the physical plane, let alone this revealingly. That's what artists do, and by that definition Hogencamp is most certainly a fine artist.
There's a lt of sly humor here, and Malmberg's feel for his subject is the best thing about this film (outside of Mark's unique world, of course). The director knows that world and takes us into it cleanly. It's a strange yet oddly calming ride, and the affection of Mark's friends for him and his world says volumes.
The brief glimpses of his past and the refusal of Malmberg to dwell on the crime, instead focusing on the art that grows out of that crime's wound, are what makes this film so interesting. It takes its time, but the deeper you go the more it all means. I was especially moved by Mark's pre-attack sketch of him holding onto AA. It goes by fast; watch for it and pause there and take a long look. It hauntingly prefaces what followed.
We've all got issues, but not many of us are able to both express and simultaneously transcend them on this level. That Mark is so far removed from the Art World---and that his documentarist is so finely attuned to Mark's own world of art---is what makes Marwencol a wonderfully unique and satisfying film.