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Nominated as Best Documentary at the Academy Awards in 2010, Exit Through The Gift Shop: A Bansky Film is a must see for everyone interested in the works of British street-artist Banksy and street and graffiti art itself. The film is also a very good example of how far one can go with limited budget and a small crew. Large budgets don´t always result in better docs. However, a dash of eccentricity and passion is needed to finish the whole thing and bring it to the screen as was the case of this film.
A large part of the footage in the film is shot by French immigrant Thierry Guetta who lives in San Fransisco. Guetta owned a second hand store in San Fran but came to know street art through his French cousin, the street artist Invader. He started filming him and getting to know more street artists and decided to make a documentary about street art. With no budget what so ever, Guetta films and films and eventually gets to know Banksy who agrees to allow Guetta to involve him in the film. To make a long story shorter, Guetta never made it from the stage of filming, Banksy took over the filmmaking and this film is the result. Guetta´s footage was however not all useable or as Banksy commented in LA Weekly interview; “The film was made by a very small team. It would have been even smaller if the editors didn’t keep having mental breakdowns. They went through over 10,000 hours of Thierry’s (Guetta) tapes and got literally seconds of usable footage out of it.”
Guetta became an artist himself in the process of the filmmaking and using the art name Mr. Brainwash. An eccentric, manic eccentric at times, Guetta´s artistic talent is questioned in the film, as well as the authenticity of his works. However, thanks to Guetta and his manic filming habits, audience also gets to know Banksy, his works and ideology.
The film received several awards at film festivals around the world. Funny and witty just like Banksy himself, the film is worth your time. The DVD of the film is available on Amazon. Following is the trailer for the film…and then the whole thing – Enjoy!