Exit Through The Gift Shop

The Nominations:

  • Documentary Feature

The Black-and-White:

A review by moviegirl

Plot synopsis from imdb.com:

The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard [sic] Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work.

Wikipedia defines graffiti as “any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings.” Personally, I think a key part of that definition is missing. I think a better definition would be: “any type of markings on private or public property made without prior authorization by the people who own the property that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings.”

You can probably tell that I’m not a fan of graffiti. Not the paint kind, not the tiny tile kind, and absolutely not the fiber kind, for so many reasons.

So it was with some irritation that I sat down to watch this film which is ostensibly, as the blurb above states, about a French man living in America who ends up in the (under)world of graffiti with his video camera, and ends up becoming a “star” of that world himself.

I say ostensibly because I have a lot of doubts about whether this film is “real,” or whether it is simply an art piece created by Banksy, who stars in as well as directs the “documentary,” to publicize himself as well as to say some ironic something about the business of art. If this is the case, I am even more irritated by this film, and honestly I didn’t think that was possible.

Obviously, if this is actually a mockumentary (a la Best in Show), I don’t think it should win this category. Documentaries are supposed to be about facts, after all, and not dramatizations or even anthropomorphizations (penguin movie, I’m looking at you). Case in point: the un-nominated Kevin Spacey as Casino Jack vs. Casino Jack as himself in the un-nominated Casino Jack and the United States of Money.

If this is actually a documentary, I think it has some hope of winning. There are stories within the story of Thierry Guetta that Academy members may find compelling. For example, there’s the story of how fame legitimizes vandalism (the movie features Shepard Fairey, who is responsible for creating the blue and red brand image of Barack Obama), and the story about how art is about commercialism hype as much as content.

The big question is whether the voters will be willing to put themselves in a position of finding themselves punked by Banksy, as aided by Fairey. If you have Netflix, you can watch this movie streaming. See for yourself.

One Response to Exit Through The Gift Shop

  1. […] Also, new reviews of Alice in Wonderland, and Exit Through The Gift Shop. […]

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