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Fun "documentary" about/by Banksy (perhaps?). How much is true and how much is a hoax? I'm not really sure - but that is part of the enjoyment. Neat meta-commentary of fame, film, commercialism, art, "art", authenticity, and the lack thereof. Pair this with Orson Welles' "F for Fake" for a fun double feature exploration of art and authenticity.
What is art really? Is passion more useful than value? It's quite significant in giving an image of art and street artists. Personally, graffiti is an art with its essence. It's not Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso or even Andy Warhol. The question: are graffiti art or vandalism? This is returned and depends on our perception of each individualism. However, creativity is unlimited. "Exit Through the Gift Shop" confirms an icon of qualified contemporary art, modern art, and pop culture. Banksy, in addition to his sensations and reputation, is clearly able to frame a medium of art included in filmmaking. This is a credible validation of the artists in this film. I have a question: is life imitates art or art imitates life? Or, do we need both of them?
Near the end of the film, Banksy narrates "I don't think Thierry played by the rules in some ways; but, then there are not supposed to be any rules." This line summarizes all the emotions and reactions the film leaves you with by the end so perfectly. This film chronicles a French shop keeper named Thierry Guetta as, after discovering his cousin is a famous street artist, gets involved in the lives of several famous street artists, especially Banksy - a particularly secretive artist.
The first couple acts of the film involves Guetta interacting with many of the artists and learning about how they perform their hobby. This section of the film is pretty interesting as it feels almost like a tour of an underground society which, due to the legality of it, is hard to find this kind of info on. Graffiti art often faces controversy as it's heavily discussed whether graffiti artists break laws such as trespassing and vandalism or not. As a result, they often have to be wary of the police and other attention while placing their artworks throughout various cities. What this film does is give us almost a behind-the-scenes look at a practice so controversial that it often doesn't get this kind of attention we see in the film.
As much as I enjoyed the first couple acts, however, the final act is what truly lingered with me long after watching the film. After Thierry opens up his own art exhibit - as was suggested by Banksy - his show becomes a major success, earning him nearly a million dollars in the first week in addition to his art being shown in multiple exhibits around the world. As Banksy comments though, "There's no one quite like Thierry really, even if his art does look a lot like everyone else's." Banksy is known for having great mastery over his particular craft as he often fills his art with social and political commentary. Guetta's art, however, copies that of many others and repeats various ideas with more of a scattershot effect as opposed to much skill. Yet, despite the flaws with his art, he becomes a massive, overnight sensation.
Due to this, the film's plot ultimately consists of a professional inspiring a beginner to make art, only for the beginner's art, which is viewed as cookie-cutter by many graffiti artists, to go off in a completely unexpected direction. Should we really blame Thierry for achieving this though? As Banksy noted, Thierry didn't break any rules. He took his chance with the art world and he found a great deal of success. His art may not have been up to the standards of Banksy and other famous street artists, but should we really fault him for being successful? Is that something to really hold against him? Banksy understands that this isn't himself. As a result, the ending doesn't feel tragic, but it also doesn't feel fulfilling. The best way I can describe my admiration over the final act is that it leaves you with a neutral emotion which is made compelling due to how thought provoking it is.
While looking up what other people thought of this film, I heard several people raise the possibility that this film is actually a mockumentary. I can understand why some people would feel this way as its story simply seems too grand and unbelievable to be true. Surely, several thousand people wouldn't line up to see an art exhibit by someone who was basically an unknown in the art world beforehand, right? Whether this film is true or not isn't of much concern to me though, because regardless of which one is correct, this film isn't weakened in any way. In fact, if the film is fake, this actually makes it even more interesting as then, you could read Thierry Guetta as an alter ego of Banksy.
Overall, this film was really good, and I'd definitely recommend it. As much as I'm tempted to though, I'm not sure I'd call it great. The final act certainly is. I think the majority of the film which occurs before it though is just good entertainment. However, I don't mean to hold this as a criticism against the film. Regardless of what you think of Graffiti, this film is worth checking out due to the artistic ideas it conveys throughout.
A perfectly serviceable film which holds up as a not-too-deep satire of aspects of the contemporary art world, but never indulges it audience in anything that might be mistaken for an education into street art, Banksy, or anything else.
This was truly one of the most entertaining documentaries I have ever seen. I was dazzled at the world of street art, and all the politics that seem to come with it.
Stranger than fiction; what started as a glib interview with Thierry Guetta, a French man with a compulsive obsession to film evangelistic street artists at work unfolds into a sardonic testimonial to the bizarre birth of a phenomenally controversial artist who called himself Mr. Brainwash in this Oscar-nominated documentary directed by the enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy, one of Thierry's videography subjects.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Directed By: Banksy
Starring: Banksy, Space Invader and Mr. Brainwash
Plot: The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work.
Recommendation: Rent this documentary it's a great watch and a very interesting look at street art. If you have Netflix it's on there too so you can watch it for free too.
Street artists, showing you the absurdity of modern art: lovely.
A deeply subversive film that is a hybrid documentary and a standard staged and choreographed film. Banksy is the genius behind this satire/spoof about faked art, media hype and the public's manipulaibility/gullability. The creation of Thierry Guetta into some kind of Warholish Frankenstein is the device Bansky uses to subvert the world of modern art. Bansky's hidden face interviews are, of course, staged to make it seem that he is as taken aback as everyone else by Guetta's success. when in fact Banksy was instrumental in setting Guetta up as the new enfante terrible of the modern chic art set. It's Bansky pulling one over on all of us again, the cinematic equivalent of a midnight Bansky "bombing" run on an abandoned building's tattered walls. But instead of little girls and balloons Bansky is painting a still life of humanity collectively drinking at a watering hole and not even noticing it is bone dry.
"He kinda broke the rules...then again there aren't supposed to be any rules...."