Friday 5 March 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

This film is a sort of documentary about a French man's journey from a family man who happens to be obsessive about filming anything and everything with his video camera, through his discovery of street art, to his own rebirth as a celebrity pop artist. The reason I say it's a "sort-of" documentary because I'm not sure how much of it is partial or total fiction, because it's supposed to be a film made by Banksy. I love a lot of street art or graffiti (the sort that looks or feels like someone has put a lot of work or thought put into it, rather than what appear to be wanton acts of boredom) so it was fantastic to see a lot of great street art being created (despite the interventions of the police).

Thierry Guetta, the main focus of the film, is a very intriguing man. It's clear that he's incredibly driven by his passion for filming the everyday world around him, but when he finds the underworld of street art, he becomes obsessed by it, and forms friendships with graffiti artists in the US. It's through a particular artist, Shepard Fairey, that Thierry is introduced to Banksy and ends up following him around, assisting Banksy in constructing art and filming him (well, his hands at work, mostly!). Eventually, encouraged by Banksy, Thierry becomes an artist in his own right overnight and even hires the massive CBS studios in LA and has his own "art show". This is the bit where is all goes a bit fairy-tale-ish, but cheeky and entertaining nonetheless.

I've seen this film described as a "faux documentary" and a "hoax" of Banksy's... which may or may not be true. What I do know, is that it's a very entertaining look at the art world, and a great story. There are probably lots of critics over the world who are getting their knickers in a twist over the questions that this film might raise, around what actually IS art... Well, at the risk of sounding a little bit pretentious, my own personal view is that art is something that someone has made, and that they have some sort of emotional attachment to... but let's keep the lid of that can of worms tightly shut - life's too short!

Official Site: - this tells you where you can see the film - I saw it at the Showroom, Sheffield.

Discover more about graffiti and street/guerilla art:

Let's not forget my own favourite graffiti artist, Sheffield's (and Lutterworth's, where I went to school) very own Kid Acne:


Joey xx

1 comment:

  1. I am so fascinated by Banksy. Since I first came across him a couple years go I have been so intrigued by all the work he does. Granted I don't know really what to think about the whole graffiti and public defacement thing but his pictures and imagery and commentary are very impressive. The guy definitely is talented. I can't wait to see this "doc" I was following its press around the time of sundance!


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