Best Documentary : Exit Through the Gift Shop; subversive F for Fake styled documentary Lean-N-Mean
Written: Jan 19, 2011 (Updated Jan 19, 2011)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Fascinating, interesting, funny, remarkable and subversive.
Cons:Banksy doesn't tell us what he thinks of Thierry's art (or does he?)
The Bottom Line: Excellent 2010 documentary blurring what is Art, what is celebrity, what is reality into subversive visual essay.
Exit through the Gift Shop is a subversive documentary about a loose group of ‘street and graffiti artists, and a character who videotaped them. It is also about the effort some of these artists took to have gallery showings of their art and sell their work to art collectors and the public.
The documentary is by an artist who calls himself Banksy and sets about categorizing the art as the Modern Street Art movement, made up of a group of artists who use walls, billboards, fences and other surfaces to create their art on.
Exit through the Gift Shop is an almost-homage to Orson Welles' F for Fake. It's narrated by Rhys Ifans and is focused mostly on Thierry (Terry) Guetta, a French man who moved to Los Angeles and sold designer clothes in a trendy boutique while obsessively videotaping thousands of hours of his life. Eventually he became interested in documenting Graffiti and street artists as they create their art often illegally late at night.
After several years of documenting the street artist's work, Thierry hopes to someday film the very famous but mysterious Banksy. Eventually Thierry and Banksy meet and form a sort of partnership. As Banksy becomes more famous, he encourages Thierry to ‘finish' his film. When the finished film is an unfocused collage, Banksy encourages Thierry to become an artist, and we watch Thierry become an updated Warhol sort of assembly artist as he prepares a massive 2008 show in Los Angeles. He becomes the Artist known as MBW or Mr. BrainWash. Is Thierry doing this on his own or is it with the help of Banksy? Is it real or is it a hoax? Is it possible to hype and promote yourself into a new STAR of the art world, almost overnight?
The documentary is fascinating to watch. The story it tells and the characters, particularly Thierry Guetta are interesting and watching stories unfold as they do is much better than the best reality television shows.
The Exit Through the Gift Shop DVD comes in an ‘80 percent recycled' cardboard package with collectible paper sunglasses mimicking Banksy's iconic Rat with Sunglasses image. You also get two decals and two postcards one a piece by Banksy and one by MBW.
B Movie is a 13 minutes mini documentary about Banks's most infamous work including the ‘art' he snuck into the Tate Museum and hung on the wall and the Paris Hilton CD he put into several record store shelves.
There's a 15 minute ‘lawyers cut' of the collage movie Thierry supposedly made called Life Remote Control. Was there every a 90 minute version of this or is it a put on? We don't know.
A Star is Born is a 7 minute mini doc on MBW's participation in the Street Artist's ‘Cans Festival'.
Exit through the Gift Shop subversively blurs the line between art, reality and celebrity and is one of the best and most unique documentaries of the year.
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