Exit Through The Gift Shop
Available on DVD / Blu-Ray Now
Documentary? Metafilm? Love letter to street art? It’s difficult to pigeonhole exactly what sort of film Exit Through The Gift Shopis. Billed as ‘A Banksy Film’ one would be forgiven for expecting secretive antics, run-ins with the police and bold political statements and what’s surprising is that, although present, none of these things form the sole focus of the project. Far from it.
No, Exit Through the Gift Shop is, in fact, largely composed from home-video footage shot by Thierry Guetta, an avid video-camera enthusiast who became obsessed with street art through his love of documenting everything he came in to contact with. After many years filming the activities of renowned street artists such as Space Invader, and Shepard Fairey, a chance encounter with Britain’s own enigmatic street art legend Banksy leads to Guetta deciding to turn the hours of footage he has accumulated in to a definitive street art documentary.
Unfortunately, Guetta’s inexperience as a filmmaker marks him out as something of a headcase and his inability to construct a film of any worth leads to Banksy taking over the project whilst Guetta returns to America to try and make a name for himself in the art world. Miraculously, perhaps through hype rather than talent, Guetta is able to amass a small fortune through his new business venture, leaving many of his former idols resentful and the audience slightly at a loss as to how his former passion for art has veered so greatly off-track.
As a film it’s almost as enigmatic as Banksy himself and ultimately serves as more of a documentary about Guetta’s inadvertent attempts to hijack an art movement rather than an outright documentary about street art, but it’s hugely entertaining stuff nonetheless.