Compiling a list of “Things I Hate About L.A.”is a trite but required rite of passage for anyone who’s lived here for more than 5 years. Sandwiched somewhere between the word “Fro-Yo” and women who wear Uggs with shorts is #253: the endless barrage of studios begging for votes around award season. You can’t turn on the radio without hearing the following: “(Random Director) has deftly crafted a masterpiece that will undoubtedly cement its place in history as a story of the ages…” It’s nauseating.
So when you are an infamous street artist whose identity is unknown and your documentary has been nominated for an academy award, how do you laud the praises of your work to pimp for precious votes? You create a mural of course!
Exit through the Gift Shop was a documentary (or mockumentary) made by the elusive Banksy which follows a vintage clothing store owner/camera hobbiest (Thierry Guetta) who stumbles on an opportunity to film street artists at work. The artists, including Shepard Fairey and Banksy (shrouded in a hoodie with a disguised voice), bring Thierry into their circle; eventually Thierry begins to stencil his own murals and creates his own street alias, Mr. Brainwash.
Spoiler Alert: The movie then takes an interesting turn of events as Thierry/Brainwash, drunk off his own exuberance, bankrolled his own art show and commercialized his work. The movie climaxes in a comedic portrayal of L.A. hipsters being duped by Mr. Brainwash at his self funded show.
I really enjoyed the film, but with the popularity of today’s “scripted reality” I still don’t know if the movie was a colossal joke played on viewers. The conspiracy theories surrounding the film abound. Regardless, the movie is hilarious, and Banksy’s cheeky, sardonic humor stands out. While his pitch to Hollywood was silent, it’s classic Banksy.
So if he wins, who’s going to pick up the statue? Will he reveal himself? According to the IndieWire Banksy states, “I don’t agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I’m prepared to make an exception for the ones I’m nominated for. The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me.” For once I may tune in just to see what he comes up with.