February 25, 2011
Got to watch the leading candidate for Best Documentary Feature before the Oscar Awards tomorrow.
"I don't even know if there is a joke..." So says one of the people interviewed in this edgy documentary film by controversial street artist Banksy. After watching "Exit Through the Gift Shop," you would not really know.
The structure of the film is divided into two. At the beginning, we are watching a documentary about the evolution of street art, which is glorified graffiti. This was seen through the eye of amateur film maker Thierry Guetta, who risked life and limb to follow around and film these street artists who usually ply their trade in the dark of night. This obsession hits a peak when he meets and films his biggest "prize", Banksy himself.
Then, there is the second half. The film becomes a tongue-in-cheek discourse about Theirry himself and his own art as "Mr. Brainwash". He produces himself a huge collection of derivative "art" and mounts his own big one-man show. At this point, I got the impression that the documentary becomes an indictment of the current art world. Could it be that Banksy is laughing at the pretentiousness and gullibility of the art connoisseurs of today?
I honestly do not care much about this topic. In fact, I do not like graffiti in general, nor do I really appreciate pop art. The documentary though is interesting and makes you want to watch to the end. There is controversy whether this film is a true-blue documentary or a "mock"-umentary in the spirit of Banksy's street art. I guess that is why it is generating the attention it is getting now. As shown in the movie, it is all in the publicity. You watch it and judge for yourself.