I had a family Oscars party last night, and in spite of the lackluster show, we had a glorious evening. I cooked all day long and provided lots of foodie fare, complete with champagne. (thanks Tastespotting!)
We had seen all of the Best Picture films this year and two of the feature documentaries, so we were pretty invested in the lineup.
One of my favorites was Exit through the Gift Shop. Its really a movie within a movie, that might just be a hidden conspiracy.
It starts out innocently enough, featuring a filmmaker who stumbles upon the shadowy world of graffiti artists – which is interesting within its own right. But then the film takes on a life of its own when the filmmaker becomes an obsessive collaborator and eventually a ‘mass market’ graffiti art world elite. Its a lot like falling down a rabbit hole.
The movie is produced by Banksy, a notoriously anonymous graffiti artist who is highlighted in the film. His work has heavy political and satirical tones, and one begins to wonder if the filmmaker in the documentary is just another one of Banksy’s social commentaries about art and consumers. That subtle tension just adds to the color of the movie, and makes for a glorious romp.
I had really hoped that the film would win an oscar, and we might be graced with some of Banksy’s spectacle onstage.
(Exit through the Gift Shop is available to watch on Netflix instant queue!)
I just heard that this was a mockumentary. Was it?
Well thats the big question! Thierry Guetta/Mr Brainwash is a real person, and he has had real shows on both coasts – making millions of dollars.
So it might be that Mr Brainwash is a cover for Banksy, but that just furthers Guetta's character in the movie even more. He seems to epitomize the mindless mass production of art – and the hype that will get anyone to buy it. And his success in the art world ends up being a very telling political statement….. which is exactly the kind of thing Banksy does so well.
Either way, hoax or no hoax, its a terrific intellectual puzzle – and the movie is really fun all on its own.