Thierry Guetta is a filmmaker. Not in terms of profession, but it is his life. His camera is like grown with his hand. Wherever he is, there is a camera. At one point he starts filming his cousin, the street artist “Space Invader”, he becomes obsessed with the life of street-art. He films everything and everyone. While filming he gets deeper and deeper into the world of street-artists. He films the night life in which they go with spray cans, posters and wallpaper glue along the streets, looking for perfect wall.
At one point there is only one artist he has not been able to film yet, Banksy. He is known for his often politically oriented art. Thierry has been trying to reach Banksy for years, but almost appears to be impossible to find him. Fellow artists don’t know where he is or don’t want to reveal his hideout.
To his surprise at one point Banksy contacts Thierry. He had heard that Thierry is the man that knows all the right walls in Los Angeles. After Thierry wins the trust of Banksy, Banksy suggests to switch rolls. Thierry becomes the artist and Banksy the filmer. Banksy’s film is about the street-artist Thierry, who adopts the alias Mr. Brainwash. What begins as an honest, heartfelt documentary about street art is suddenly a documentary about the eccentric Thierry Guetta. It is obvious that Thierry Guetta clearly is inspired by street artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey. In no time Mr. Brainwash manages to put his name on the map.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is more than a documentary about street art. It shows not only the life and work of these artists, but also how street-art increasingly has become an accepted art form. The question is whether this film is a documentary or that it was put in scene. Real or not, Banksy has “Exit Through The Gift Shop” a good (fake) documentary delivered.
Review by: Sieto Kooijker