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Exit Through The Gift Shop

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The doc's Website doesn't list a director and neither does IMDB. Twitch is claiming it is directed by Banksy, and there's a great review from Sundance on that page.

Due to his relationships with Shepard and Invader, Thierry met many other street artists and, because of his ever present video camera, became the de facto documentarian of the growing movement. But the one artist who eluded his lens was the subversive English artist Banksy - a man whose gall and ingenuity (he hung his own paintings in the Tate Modern, MOMA, and the Met) had made him the best known name in the street art world. As fate would have it, it was Banksy who, new to LA and in need of a guide, one day called Thierry. Banksy was intrigued by the odd Frenchman and bought into Thierry's desire to document the movement. So for the first time, Banksy allowed someone to capture his process and application. After Banksy's "Barely Legal" art show in LA brought in millions of dollars and spelled the coming out party for street art, Banksy told Thierry it was time to release his documentary to the public. Not really knowing anything about filmmaking, Thierry took a stab at it - cutting together 90 minutes of free flowing ideas and imagery. As Banksy put it, the film was utter shit. So Banksy asked Thierry to leave the tapes with him (to ostensibly create this documentary) and told Thierry to go home, work on his own art, and put on his own show. Thierry did exactly that, building a street art factory and cranking out thousands of pieces of art under the moniker Mr. Brainwash. His 2008 "Life is Beautiful" show earned him over $1 million and marked his overnight entry to the ranks of elite street artists. It also earned him the scorn of the very people whose trust he had worked so hard to earn: the artists who had labored years to find the success that Thierry rode to fortune.

The webpage shows lots of four star reviews but it is hard to say whether this is legit. In watching the trailer (below) one is reminded that Banksy is continuously willing to play with reality.

How exciting! We finally get to meet Banksy in person.

I'm pretty stoked about this, it's like finally meeting The Lone Ranger.

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Netflix lists Banksy as the director, FWIW. It says Rhys Ifans is in it, too.

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The picture at Twitch has his head covered and face not shown, so when we meet The Lone Ranger he will no doubt still be masked.

Link to the Wikipedia page on Banksy, and a Link to his own website which shows just a bit of his work. If anyone knows of a more in depth site, please post, particularly the LA elephant, MOMA, the Disney Land incident, the West Bank Walls. I wish there were one site where all the good stuff was collected together.

Edited by Persona

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Amy Taubin from Sundance:

Exit Through the Gift Shop bills itself as "a Banksy film" and "the world's first street artist disaster movie." If it is indeed directed by the artist who goes by the name of Bansky, it is one of the most inspired, adroit, hilarious debut features ever (please quote this on the poster), but one should expect no less from the mystery man who printed Lady Diana £10 notes, painted nine graffiti images on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, and placed an inflatable effigy of a Guantanamo prisoner in Disneyland. These and many other profoundly political works, executed with great panache, are glimpsed in the movie, which also includes many freshly minted Banksy aphorisms, seemingly uttered by a darkly clad figure whose face is digitally concealed and whom I believe to be the reincarnation of Oscar Wilde. Some Sundancers speculated that Exit Through The Gift Shop was helmed by Spike Jonze, and for a minute I suspected, based on the Rhys Ifans voiceover narration that recalls Velvet Goldmine, that Todd Haynes had a hand in it. However it came into the world, it is a joyous addition to the potential catalogue raisonné of the artist who turned Warhol inside out by proving that anonymity is cooler and more difficult to sustain than fame.
Edited by Persona

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Hoax or not a hoax, this was a brilliant film. It asks all the philosophical questions about art, what is art, who gets to decide it is art, who gets to decide if it is important art, if the artist is significant, etc.

As a side note, it has a better ending than the final episode of Lost.

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Hoax or not a hoax, this was a brilliant film. It asks all the philosophical questions about art, what is art, who gets to decide it is art, who gets to decide if it is important art, if the artist is significant, etc.

As a side note, it has a better ending than the final episode of Lost.

Is it at all similar to My Kid Could Paint That?

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Wish I could've gone with you, Thom. Your quick description has me excited!

I finally. get. to see this. this weekend. (I had to call to make sure it would still be there.)

Funny aside: I was trying to think of a movie experience I could share with El Wifebo. We are a couple that could use a good laugh together. And I knew she sometimes gets sick of the arthouse. I don't think she ever wants to hear the word "Haneke" again.

I texted: Let's see MacGruber this weekend!

She replied: id rather die.

I texted: Big, big LOL! :) I was trying to steer clear of the art-house. Thought you might like a comedy.

She replied: very nice-but no mcgruber! i wouldn't mind the banksey film tho [sic]

At this point, realizing I was headed to the art-house, after pulling down both hands which were high in the air, I texted: I'll make sure it's still there this wknd!

Her reply: ok

And so it is finally set in stone.

Edited by Persona

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I'm delighted to see that the Fine Arts Theatre in Asheville is showing this - planning to see it on Tuesday.

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I'm delighted to see that the Fine Arts Theatre in Asheville is showing this - planning to see it on Tuesday.

Exit Through the Gift Shop is playing in Seattle, Portland, Vancounver, Austin, Detroit... Lots of A&Fers need to get to this. It is going to be one of our favorites when we look back on the end of the year. All you need to know is that it is a Banksy film, and Thom's quick, gorgeous quip above should convince you that this is the one to drive a few miles for.

Check to see if it is near your city Here.

I just looked for you, too, Leary -- it is at the Tivoli Theater in St. Louis.

Also: Philadelphia Ritz 5 -- Minneapolis Uptown... Oh gosh, I haven't been to the Uptown Theater in years. I think the last film I saw there was Larry Clark's Kids when it first came out! I know we have a few Philly A&Fers, don't we also have a few from Minneapolis?

And where the heck are all the Brits? Shouldn't they have seen this already?

Edited by Persona

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Saw it today. Loved it.

Kept saying, "What an idiot!" Then I'd think, "What a genius!" Then "What a fraud!" Then, "Maybe all art is fraud."

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It completely surpassed my expectations. When it's all said and done, you can't even know whether the film is about Banksy, Thierry (MBW), or yet again, Banksy. I'm thinking the latter. I'm thinking this whole film is an elaborate prank that further deepens the mystery surrounding Banksy, but man, is it ever ingeniously pulled off. It's a holiday weekend and hard to sit down and write, but I'm going to try to pull together an official reaction sometime tonight.

What a clever film. So clever, that we laughed the whole time. It actually did become a comedy of sorts, but only when you give yourself over to the idea that everything you're watching might be

as real as Spinal Tap

.

Edited by Persona

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I'm thinking this whole film is an elaborate prank that further deepens the mystery surrounding Banksy, but man, is it ever ingeniously pulled off.

I love the term I came across reading about this possibility: prankumentary

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Full reaction Here.

Here's what might interest us for future talk:

That the film Guetta put together was horrible is really not much of a surprise. It gave Banksy a reason to step in and use the footage to create a video work of his own, and what happens from this point is very much like Lars von Trier's pushing of Jørgen Leth in The Five Obstructions. A drama asserts itself and the film becomes less about the art, or the "obstruction," and more about the man behind it -- in this case, Thierry Guetta. (Whereas in The Five Obstructions the film becomes high praise and admiration for Leth, here Guetta becomes the stain, so to speak, on the "integrity" of street art.)

Guetta stops taping and becomes a graffiti artist himself, relying on the knowledge of all he's learned in taping street art and the ability to outsource "his" creations to other artists. He has huge success in the range of millions of dollars when he puts on an exhibition in L.A.

Two things at this point give us pause to consider:

1. Who is now taping the events at Guetta's hugely successful exhibition? and

2. Is it possible the exhibition took place exactly as presented in the film?... Is Guetta real, and are his exploits as presented in the film exactly how things took place? Or is he an actor, a friend of Banksy's, who has gone out of his way to Punk us all?

Roger Ebert believes the story as presented is true. In his review he reveals an article in the L.A. Weekly from June 2008 which shows that MBW's showcase really did take place. He says: "Common sense dictates that no one would rent a CBS studio and fill it with hundreds of art works in order to produce a hoax indie documentary. Nor would they cast Guetta, indubitably a real person, as himself. Right? Right?"

And that is exactly where I differ from Ebert. Notice Ebert had to ask "Right?" twice. Even he isn't certain.

When all is said and done, a crafty point is made about the integrity of art itself -- a hilarious notion, since we began the film talking about a cast of characters who are simply obsessed with defacing public property...

Edited by Persona

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Didn't this movie used to be called F For Fake?

:)

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Hoax or not a hoax, this was a brilliant film. It asks all the philosophical questions about art, what is art, who gets to decide it is art, who gets to decide if it is important art, if the artist is significant, etc.

As a side note, it has a better ending than the final episode of Lost.

Is it at all similar to My Kid Could Paint That?

Nah, my kid... is closer to the final episode of Lost. Exit... asks these questions brilliantly. In a way that really allows the audience to dig deep into their thoughts on the matter. using street art to do this is even more brilliant because it has a semi-, maybe completely, polarizing tendency anyway.

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Didn't this movie used to be called F For Fake?

:)

F for Fake was a documentary about art that Orson Welles directed. From the synopsis I've read, it sounds like it covers some similar territory.

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Didn't this movie used to be called F For Fake?

:)

F for Fake was a documentary about art that Orson Welles directed. From the synopsis I've read, it sounds like it covers some similar territory.

I am going to have to watch F for Fake. It has been on my list for years and on my shelf for as long.

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Didn't this movie used to be called F For Fake?

:)

F for Fake was a documentary about art that Orson Welles directed. From the synopsis I've read, it sounds like it covers some similar territory.

Yep. F for Fake is one of my favorites. I'll be interested to see if Banksy can hold a candle up to Welles, if there is any similar territory. Ever since Banksy became the darling of Sotheby's with his Kate Moss prints I've wondered about him, though. Next thing you know he'll be doing frozen peas commercials.

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After seeing this, I have to say, Andy Kaufman lives! The way I see it, this is the best Kaufman-esque prank since Jerry "the King" Lawler got into a fight with Andy on the David Letterman show. Thierry played a great Bob Zmuda to Bansky's Kaufman, or was it the other way around? Or else, I'm reading the whole thing wrong, everything was real, and I'm just being duped by my skeptical nature :)

It was brilliantly executed, how blurred the line was between fact and fiction. I bet Charlie Kaufman was making notes (or who knows, he might have been directing the whole thing).

Edited by Crow

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LOL, you got me

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This showed up in Hulu's facebook feed today: "Elusive street artist Banksy took over The Simpsons intro last night and offered a dark take on consumerism. What'd you think of his message?"

You can watch the whole episode here.

EW.com weighs in. So does CNN.

Google "Simpsons Banksy" to find a bunch more stories.

Link to the Simpsons Movie thread, where Persiflage already mentioned the opening.

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DVD (and Netflix streaming) tomorrow (Dec 14).

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I watched F for Fake last week, which was a good primer for watching Exit this morning. They're fairly similar in the themes they're covering, but one big difference is that Fake looks back on events that "happened" several years in the film's past, while Exit gives the impression of capturing events as they're taking place (both in the street art footage at the beginning and

Guetta's gallery show toward the end). Another difference, of course is that Welles tells you what's real at the end of Fake, while Exit doesn't give a wink to the camera. Or winking at the camera is all it does, which is kind of the same thing.

Has anyone who's seen I'm Still Here compared it to Exit? It seems like there would be some interesting material there, especially about commitment to the bit. If Exit is a bit, of course.

Edited by Tyler

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