Marwencol about a man who was severely beaten by 5 thugs because he was a cross dresser. He had such irreparable damage to his brain that he basically had to start his life over, once he recovered from the beating. His memory was completely lost and he had to relearn the rudimentary basics of walking and writing. Throughout the process of his recovery he looked at photographs of himself to try to reconnect to his past. But all was lost and he could not remember who the people were in the images including his own bride or wedding. The images were interesting and compelling and they comprised great stories locked within their frame, but there was no emotional connection what so ever to those still images. What became fascinating was the man created an alternate reality in which he could live based on impressions from the imagery from his previous life. He began to amass a large collection of male and female Barbie type dolls, dress them and completely work them into the replication of actual people he had a strong emotional connection. He began to create an elaborate alternate reality with these dolls and created this amazing little village he called Marwencol in which they could exist and literally come to life; one of the dolls being himself. He created this entire universe in the back yard of a mobile home. He would then tell the stories of these people/dolls in great detail often painting their expressions and emotions, costuming them and finally position them into staged scenarios and then photograph them. He creates an amazing relationship between himself and his alter ego, as he calls it that are more realistic than many peoples’ reality. These images are filled with emotions, feelings, and in many ways the attention to detail is so astonishing they seem completely alive. He doesn’t do it for the sake of creating art, but because this is the only way he can interact with his own reality. In fact, he does it for years in isolation until a neighborhood photographer discovers what he is doing and exposes his process for everyone to see the fragile world in which he exists.
By the end of the film I began to question my own reality. Do I create an alternate universe with my own images in telling the stories of my own youth and connection to desire? Has this Naked Man Project become something outside of myself where I can dwell in an ideal dream world? I began to see great parallels in this man’s self-created microcosm and my own. Then I really began to think about this Naked Man Project and began to ponder if this was my own delusional world I have created by my own alter ego to live and recreate my own emotional harmony. Suddenly I felt displaced. My world is scattered into so many different factions and many of them completely different from each other that I feel like I have multi-personality at times. I recognize the painstaking detail of imbuing my own images from the memories of my own feelings. Am I playing out my own life in a delusional dimension and is this my way of coming to terms of my own reality? What if my world was to suddenly be erased and all I had to remember were the images I have created what kind of story would I be able to cull from their lingering impressions?
FULL IMAGE: You Can Leave Your Hat On