Sunday, May 2, 2010
Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
An absolutely fascinating documentary, ostensibly about "street art", but ends up being about more than that. Somewhat. Its a little hard to explain, but it starts in one place, and ends in a much different place. You never quite know where it is going or where it is leading. It organic in that it features Thierry Guetta who picks up a video camera and basically starts filming everyone and everything around him. And from there, during a trip to to France, he discovers that a cousin of his is a famous street artist named Invader (or Space Invader). Guetta becomes obsessed with following Invader around on his exploits, and he starts to become more and more immersed in the street art culture, meeting more and more artists along the way. And following him all over the world. He amasses thousands of hours of tapes, he starts to come up with the idea of making all this footage into a documentary at some point-the problem is he is disorganized- at one point he shows the hundreds of boxes of tapes that he has made- mostly unmarked and never even looked at. They contain amazing footage- a lot of which is shown. It documents a subculture where pieces might be up for a day, if not shorter, before they are taken down or painted over, this footage is an invaluable document of a huge amount of pieces. And this is only the beginning-through his travels his holy grail becomes meeting Banksy, the famous London street artist. And from there things spiral in yet another direction-its pretty riveting. I don't want to give away the surprises because thats what makes the documentary so amazing-but it ends up being as much, if not more so about the documentarian (in an interesting way, not an annoying one) and also about art in general, commerce, fame etc. Its really amazing.