Director: Jeff Malmberg
Year Released: 2010
After being ruthlessly beaten outside a bar in Kingston, New York in the 90's, Mark Hogencamp lost his memory and almost his life, so as a coping mechanism he turned to making his own unique world in his backyard full of action figures (and Barbies) with names, backgrounds and their own complex storylines. Malmberg's level of 'closeness' with his subject sometimes comes across as exploitative at times (such as seeing Hogenkamp tell his Barbies he loves them) and the endorsement of art-as-therapy has its pros and cons (Hogencamp's 'method' can't match actual human-to-human interaction or medication) though the actual 'set up' of the dolls and attention to detail by Hogenkamp is entrancing: although the picture never explicitly states it, the idea of 'toys' representing 'soldiers' can be viewed as a statement on war and military life (Hogencamp was in the Navy). The way Malmberg handles Hogenkamp's pre-assault life is all but nonexistent, however, choosing to dwell on the artist's interest in cross-dressing and drinking, which strikes me as Malmberg consciously leaving out a larger piece of the puzzle.