Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film
By Nicky Tait - Muze Staff Writer
This quirky documentary delves into the budding world of street art, and explores what it takes to be an artist in a playing field without rules. French immigrant and aspiring LA filmmaker, Thierry Guetta can’t go a day without recording his every waking moment. On a trip to France, Guetta discovers his cousin is internationally acclaimed street artist Invader, lending new direction to his unyielding enthusiasm. As he tags along capturing street art in all its chaotic glory, Guetta becomes enamored with this exciting new medium. Invader introduces him to Shepard Fairey, and the two hatch a plan to create a street art documentary, crossing the country to film major players like Neck Face, Sweet Toof, Ron English, and Swoon. Guetta forgets to mention that he doesn’t actually plan to look at the footage, and the documentary gets waylaid.
Que Banksy. The well-known and notoriously secretive artist had refused Guetta’s previous attempts to contact him, however when Banksy is stranded at the LA airport he calls Fairey, who puts him in touch with Guetta. After becoming his guide for the day, the two form an unlikely friendship and Banksy allows Guetta to follow him back to England. After seeing the value in a street art documentary, and realizing that Guetta might not be capable of the undertaking, Banksy takes reign of the project and convinces Guetta to put together an art show to keep him busy. At long last “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is born, ending up more hilarious and off beat than originators had hoped for. As Marc Schiller, the owner of Wooster Collective, puts it, “It is one of these cases where Banksy has found in his art that truth is stranger than the best fiction you can imagine.”
After premiering at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival the film received widespread praise as well as skepticism. Many suspected the film to be a fake and classified it as just another one of Bansky’s pranks. “I don’t know why so many people have been fooled into thinking this film is fake,” Banksy commented, “It’s a true story from real footage. Does it bother me people don’t believe it? I could never have written a script this funny.” The full movie can be seen here, if you don’t mind a few Romanian subtitles.
Tags: Banksy, documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Mr. Brainwash, Shepard Fairey, Street Art, graffiti art, sundance, sundance film festival
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