Exit through the gift shop

Newsletter editor Lily here.

I took a trip to Washington DC this weekend to visit my oldest friend Rachel and her fiancé Jake. While everybody else we knew was watching the UNC/Duke game on Saturday night, the three of us (who follow basically no sports) decided to turn on a movie instead and order sushi.

That in it of itself proved to be a Herculean task that took upwards of an hour, seeing as we all have entirely different tastes. But finally, Jake threw out a rogue suggestion for a documentary I'd never heard of: Exit Through the Gift Shopthe 2010 film from anonymous world-famous artist Banksy. It follows the story of Thierry Guetta, a wannabe filmmaker who becomes obsessed with following well-known street artists with his camera for years before finally becoming an artist himself. Guetta is a truly asinine character, one that seems like he had to come out of a book or a really bizarre TV show as opposed to a real person.

The film was excellent — funny, fast-moving, and utterly absurd. There's also great debate, I soon discovered after I looked it up on Wikipedia, over whether or not it's even real. And to this day, no one knows for sure if they're watching a real, hard-hitting movie or a mockumentary making fun of the art world and how we're all so easily fooled by a fake artist. It's incredibly meta, if you think about it.

It was also a wild look at the pre-recession 2000s culture of consumption in America, where everybody was so taken with labels and name-brand stuff that they barely paid attention to if it was actually worth anything.

Anyway, if you just want to be entertained for an hour and a half and see a little bit of a world that many of us don't know anything about, I recommend it. It was definitely a film that was outside of my comfort zone (I wanted us to rewatch Emma!), but sometimes doing something a little different is just what the doctor ordered.

What advice or support can you offer fellow members today?