We just saw ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop – A Banksy Film’

eep!design are just back from a little adventure in the city centre to the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield where we saw ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop – A Banksy Film’…and what an adventure it was. This film takes you on a wonderfully zany journey of a wonderful and zany LA based frenchman.

This heart-warming and crazy tale is ostensibly a documentary about Banksy’s relationship with an impressionable French film-maker/stalker Theirry Guetta, the movie highlights that unquenchable thirst among some people for self-expression. It also explores another side of the equation, when the urge turns into rampant self-promotion.

But this is not a film about Banksey, this is a film about Theirry Guetta. After the tragic childhood loss of his mother Guetta has developed the need to catalogue every part of his life on film both in work and at with his family at home . With a film camera in his hand to follow his every move, through a Street Artist relation ‘Space Invader’ Guetta unwittingly finds himself in the heart of the world of street artists on both sides of the atlantic. Residing in a very grey area of legality Street Art is covert by its nature and likes to stay off camera but with his endearing charm Guetta manages to cosy in amongst the artists, including Space Invader and Shepard Fairey, by offering his help and following them on night installations whilst proving his worth and gaining their trust. In doing so it becomes evident to the artists the advantage of getting some of this wonderful work and its characters on film.

This trusting nature and endearing charm leds Guetta into the path of Banksy, who on a visit to LA needs a guide to show him all the good spots for his artistic escapades. Over time Guetta becomes a kind of assistant on these covert missions and earns Banksy’s trust, although he is only allowed to film his subject from behind. Sitting in shadow and speaking through a voice modifier, Banksy recalls like an ironic Greek chorus the bizarre sequence of events surrounding his peculiar friend. He doesn’t show his face, but reveals himself in a far more satisfying way. His droll, mildly bemused commentary, coupled with narration by Rhys Ifans, illustrate the artist in ways that no exclusive unmasking by a media outlet could ever achieve.

There is so much more to this adventure, and I’ve only given you the bare bones of all that goes on and the extremely talented artists involved and I strongly recommend you go out and see it in your local independent cinema. The story builds and builds in crescendo to its outrageous  conclusion. In this case truth is definitely crazier then fiction by any stretch of the imagination. Check out the film on IMDB now.

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~ by Austin Maguire on March 18, 2010.

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