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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: March 5: Exit Through the Gift Shop


March 5: Exit Through the Gift Shop

"The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy"

   Exit Through the Gift Shop is an outstanding documentary that starts off as a simple tale of a man attempting to make a doc about street art and turns in a completely different direction once Banksy takes control. Thierry Guetta is a simple Frenchman who has an obsession with filming everything in his life, never putting the camera down. Realizing that street art is the new up and coming "thing to do", Guetta takes to the streets filming artists and their work in a way to focus his obsession. Once submerged into the world of street art, Guetta seeks to film the un-filmable, seemingly invisible Banksy, making his street art documentary complete. It's kind of like praying your entire life then one day getting up and saying, "I'm going to go find Jesus today". Except, Guetta actually finds his "Jesus", making the film all the more interesting. 

Thy spray painted word shall be the word of my Father

    After years of following a handful of street artists, Guetta finally finishes his documentary and presents it to Banksy. The entire thing ends up being absolute shit and is a messy acid trip so unorganized and full of itself. Banksy realizes Guetta may know how to hold and point a camera, but has no idea how to make a film. So, Banksy himself, goes through the thousands of hours of footage Guetta has and makes the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. With added footage of Guetta (and his insane, but strangely succesful attempt at his own street art) as well as footage of a disguised Banksy telling his own story, Banksy creates an amazing documentary.  

Why yes, he makes incredible movies as well. 

   Overall, Exit Through the Gift Shop is very successful, not just being a documentary, but presenting a story so unique and surreal, it feels as though it's an excellent work of fiction. The accumulation of so much insight, footage, and first hand encounters with world renowned street artists makes the entire thing feel surreal, and realizing one man could capture all of it is even more impressive. Sure, Guetta, overtime, becomes a very annoying and pretentious man, especially once he starts making art of his own. But the real star of the film is Banksy and even though he continues to give the credit to Guetta, Exit Through the Gift Shop would be nothing but a hippie's crazy weekend in the woods with a ziploc bag filled with LSD. Oh, and a camera filming it all. 

The Good:
a one of a kind view into the secret world of street art
The Better:
seeing Banksy, although disguised, and hearing him talk about his passion and his life
The Best:
the showcasing of so many unrecognized artists, only looked down upon by the law because of their choice of mediums

Overall: 9.0/10

Best Quote:
Banksy: "I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore."

P.S Keep in mind, the quote is after Banksy encourages Guetta to make his own art, only to realize he becomes a pretentious prick who rips off every other artist he's filmed over the years

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