Writers are not all that dissimilar to painters and other artists. We are all trying to create visuals. Of course, as a writer, you have to do it with words. Better writers paint better pictures. Getting the reader to see exactly what you want to see is an art, not a science. It may not even be an art, but witchcraft.
I'm babbling on because the topic for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, chosen by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is artists...the kind who don't write. I've seen more than my fair share. I've seen a number of biopics about artists, but as I've been inclined to do lately, I'm going with some documentaries this week.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
(2010)Thierry (pronounced Terry) is an amateur, but passionate, photographer obsessed with capturing the work of street artists as they create it. Through an odd series of events, Thierry himself becomes a successful and well-respected street artist. This puts him on a collision course with world famous and mysterious street artist, Banksy, whom Thierry wishes to make a documentary about. The twist to this is that Exit Through the Gift Shop is directed by Banksy. So yeah, this is a documentary about a guy trying to make a documentary about the guy who made the documentary. There are lots of interesting things going on, including some amazing and thought-provoking art. However, given the nature of Banksy, there is the question of whether any of this is real. There has been widespread debate over its legitimacy since its release. Click here for my full review.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
(2012)If you've never heard the name Ai Weiwei, you should have. He is known the world over as an artist and ardent defender of human rights. Most of his work, and fight, happens in his native China. The Chinese government is notorious for persecuting artists who dare speak out against them. True to form, Weiwei was detained in 2011. This documentary follows the artist for the two years leading up to this event. It is an amazing film about an amazing man who merely wants his people to be treated humanely by the powers that be. Click here for my full review.
Cutie and the Boxer
(2013)Ushio Shinohara is a successful painter whose work has sold for decades. He has a rather unusual style. He hangs a giant canvas in his yard, drags out buckets and buckets of paint, puts on a pair of oversized boxing gloves, dips them in the paint, and commences to wailing on the canvas like he's fighting Apollo Creed. Paint goes flying everywhere, he's a mess, and by the time he's done he's got a commercially viable painting. However, the story is really only tangentially about him. It's more about his 40-year marriage to Noriko. To be honest, it's more about her and all the sacrifices she made. She is a talented artist in her own right, and decided not to pursue her art in order to support her husband, in any way, possible. We get to see plenty of art from both of them, and end up with a heartwarming doc, to boot.