Exit through the gift shop: a Banksy movie

This is the movie everybody is talking about right now and whoever is behind the promotion of it is just very clever.

We are at the Sundance Film Festival last month in the United States. No mention at all about the movie in the official programme but rather a very late announcement a few days before the start of the festival and there you had it: speculation and expectation leading to the sort of buzz that makes people queuing up hours before the screening.

I expect the same level of interest when Exit through the gift shop comes out here in Europe on the 5th March. Let’s not forget that Banksy’s show last year at the Bristol Museum attracted more than 300,000 visitors.

Should anyone have thought that at last Banksy’s identity would be revealed, ditch that idea, this is not what that movie is about at all. Banksy can only been seen from behind and in shadow and his voice is digitally altered. Who would give up his identity when it precisely what is making some of his artworks fetch the £200,000 + mark, come on.

“I guess my ambition was to make a film that would do for graffiti art what ‘The Karate Kid’ did for martial arts — a film that would get every schoolkid in the world picking up a spray can and having a go,” Banksy said of his first film earlier this month at Berlin Film Festival.

Beyond being some sort of graffiti ambassador, I believe Exit through The Gift Shop deals with a much more interesting issue: How do we assess or evaluate Art and eventually like it? Why Street Artwork is now selling as much in terms of value than more classical type of Art?

With actor Rhys Ifans as narrator, he allowed  Thierry Guetta to film him while ‘at work’. To make it short (a post about Thierry Guetta is coming up soon) he is the cousin of the artist Invader, a French guerrilla artist who sticks mosaics upon walls and buildings inspired by the video game Space Invaders. Guetta filmed his cousin’s artwork as well as other artists and was thus sucked into the street art world which led him to meet Banksy.

The London premiere of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is happening right now as I am writing this post around Leak Street tunnel so if like me you did not get an invite, you might as well watch the trailer below


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