Dallas Movie Screening

Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Welcome to Marwen

The movie opens with an ace WWII pilot crash landing in Belgium. The sequence feels a little off then his boots which are on fire reveal feet that are more plastic than flesh. When the pilot stumbles upon a car accident, he finds a pair of heels in a suitcase which he wears and wears well until he is ambushed by Nazi soldiers who ridicule his fashion choice and beat him up. He's rescued by Barbie type dolls that inhabit the town of Marwen. Welcome to the imaginary world created by Mark Hogancamp, who once was an aspiring artist, but due to a hate crime he had suffered physical and mental injuries. Unable to use his hands properly, he has taken up photographing his action figures in the art installation in his yard depicting the small Belgium village.

Inspired by Jeff Malmberg's 2010 documentary Marwencol, the "based on the true story" of Hogencamp's journey is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who co-wrote the script with Caroline Thompson. Obviously there is a lot of creative license taken but Steve Carell's gives a brilliant performance as the traumatized Mark who can't seem to separate his reality with his fantasy world. He talks to the dolls as an exstention of his personality. Each of the dolls represent a person from his life. The realistic animated faces transform to Janelle Monáe as Julie his friend from rehab, Gwendoline Christie as Anna his visiting nurse, Leslie Zemeckis as Suzette, Mark's favorite actress, Eiza González as Caralala, the cook at the bar where he work part-time, and Merritt Wever as Roberta who works at the hobby store and has a soft spot for Mark. Everyone in town knows about Mark and he is treated kindly being a fixture in town where he pulls his model jeep with his dolls in it all over the place. It isn't until Nicol (Leslie Mann) moves in across the street that Mark's worlds begin to ravel. He creates a love interest for his alter ego in the form of the red headed Nicol. You figure out pretty quickly that the Nazi's represent the gang that attacked him that fateful night.

Mark suffers from severe PTSD. We don't find out until almost half way through the movie that he lost all the memories of his life before the attack. He only discovers his drawing books and a closet full of womens shoes that lets him in as to who he was before. He appreciates the essence of women he tells Nicole. He takes anti depressants to help keep him focused, but he's doing more than the required 1 dose a day. He even has a doll that represents his addiction called Deja Thoris (Diane Kruger) the Belgium witch of Marwen.

The sentencing for the gang is coming up and it's also the first night of his art show at a NYC art gallery. His attack had made him famous as word of his photographs created an interest. Confronting the men who almost killed him and showing up at the art gallery if far beyond his comfort zone. By creating the romance of his dolls, he begins to confuse the two in his own reality. The rushed conclusion doesn't seem to explore why his use of dolls is a good and approved therapy for him. Technically it's interesting to see how the dolls imitate life. You understand and sympathize with Mark, and hope that one day he would be little more grounded.
(Review by reesa)

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