Exit Through the Gift Shop and The Rules of the Game

Been a while since I posted so I figured I’d write a bit about a couple of my most recent viewings.

Standing out most in my mind right now is Exit Through the Gift Shop, purportedly a documentary by the street artist Banksy about the street art movement and supposed LA based artist/filmmaker/clothing retailer Thierry Guetta (who goes by the artist name “Mr Brainwash”). I say supposedly because much of what I’ve read since watching this last night indicates that much of what is documented may be less a documentary than a partially fact-based hoax. But just taking the film at face value it is a valuable document of this art movement (one which I had little knowledge of or interest in prior to viewing) and a fascinating study of an obsessive poseur artist whose success would make Andy Warhol smile. I’ve pretty much always been convinced that nobody really knows what good modern visual art is – most people sort of just nod their heads at whatever the taste-makers tell them is important. This film becomes riotously funny in it’s last half-hour as Guetta becomes this ego-maniacal fame-whore bossing people around. It all culminates in the supposed Banksy wrapping up the film with statements like “There’s no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else’s” and “I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don’t do that so much anymore.” If I’m going to call it a documentary I think Exit Through the Gift Shop may have bumped The Oath off it’s pedestal as the best of 2010.

I also recently watched one of my “Eating my Vegetables” movies: The Rules of the Game by Jean Renoir. A scathing slamming-doors farce focusing on dual stories of a weekend following unfaithful French upper class socialites just prior to WWII and the dramas of their servants. The film has some really visually impressive scenes (the famous game hunt scene whose rapid-cut brutality is quite striking) and wonderful staging as we see the characters chase each other throughout the mansion, fighting, brandishing and shooting guns, wooing and carrying on. The final scene of the cover-up of a death is just venomous. I enjoyed.

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One Comment on “Exit Through the Gift Shop and The Rules of the Game”

  1. John Says:

    The Rules of the Game is great. I think I have it on my computer. Really excellent movie. I should watch it again.


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