CATEGORIES Features, Oscars, Awards

We're breaking down all the Oscar contenders for you, so that you can decide whether you want to see them -- or at the very least, hold your own at cocktail parties. Next up: 'Exit Through the Gift Shop,' the hilarious documentary look at the world of street art.

Nominated For: Best Documentary Feature

What It's About: 'Gift Shop' initially started out as French filmmaker Theirry Guetta's attempt to document the world of street art, by following around the the controversial and anonymous artist known only as Banksy, as he creates and displays illegal works on the walls of buildings ranging from L.A. to the Gaza Strip. Along the way, however, Guetta becomes the star of the project and Banksy takes control of the film. Without spoiling what happens next, Banksy comically deconstructs the modern art world, brilliantly lampoons the culture of "art fans" and deftly demonstrates the schism between true artists and people who just want to be "celebrities."

Why You Should See It: First off, if you think what Banksy does is "just graffiti," don't bother watching because you'll never understand it. One of his driving motivations is to subvert and challenge the message of authority and expose political, corporate and greed-driven hypocrisies through safe, creative expression. 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' is another extension of his message, and the film has turned into not just a hit documentary, but also a cultural conversation. Audiences still have trouble believing if 'Gift Shop' is even real, because the story it documents is so ridiculous, it's hard to believe people would ever act so comically clueless. (We think it's real -- truth is stranger than fiction.) If nothing else, 'Gift Shop' has become more than a movie, and the next stop on its journey will be Oscar night, when Banksy may or may not take advantage of the highly controlled live television setting to make another statement on superficial culture.

It's Kind Of Like: 'My Kid Could Paint That' meets 'Jackass: The Movie'

How You Can See It: Now on DVD

Watch the Trailer for 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'



Get More Info on 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'

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