Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
British street artist Banksy has been creating attention-getting stenciled grafitti for years. Over the past decade, as his artistic profile has risen, Banksy’s identity has remained almost totally secret. And yet, here he is with a film in the Sundance Film Festival. Exit Through the Gift Shop is…well, we’re not yet sure exactly what it is. Billed as a ‘pseudo-documentary’ and described by Banksy as “The story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed,” the film might show Banksy at work and reveal something about the artist. Then again, it might not.
Rhys Ifans narrates the film, which was directed (according to a statement from the filmmakers) by Terry Guetta, who “set out to record this secretive world in thrilling detail. For more than eight years he traveled with a backpack through Europe and America. After he met a British street artist known only as Banksy, things took a bizarre turn.”
The release spells the director’s name “Terry”, but Thierry Guetta is also a street artist, aka Mr. Brainwash, whose work is very reminiscent of Banksy’s. Hopefully the film will shed some light on both artists.
Sundance director John Cooper gushes about the movie, which was one of the secret programming surprises until word began to leak out this week. (Based, in part, on the fact that new Banksy artwork, like the piece in the header above, was seen in Park City.)
Exit Through the Gift Shop is one of those films that comes along once in a great while, a warped hybrid of reality and self -induced fiction while at the same time a totally entertaining experience. The story is so bizarre I began to question if it could even be real… but in the end I didn’t care. I feel bad I won’t be able to shake the filmmaker’s hand and tell him how much I love this film. I think I will shake everyone’s hand that day and hope I hit on Banksy somewhere. I love his work in all forms.
Here’s the trailer: