Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Exit Through the Gift Shop ~ Film Review

"Exit Through the Gift Shop." Banksy, Space Invader, Shephard Fairey and Mr. Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta; sounds like the characters of a cartoon?  Yeah, I suppose so.  But these guys, these guys... kick ass in a totally unexpected way.  Simply put, they creatively stub the notion of freedom of expression right in the... f f f f foot.

Banksy is listed as the Director of Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Though maybe it should have said, (by default).  When I read the credits; I found this was a particularly interesting aspect of the movie and decided to watch it a second time just to see...
well, if you watch the film you'll get why.

This documentary feels honest.
It is a fair depiction of all of the artists involved and
it is an unfiltered view of a movement that is not just about graffiti.

The vehicle for the confluence of ideas that this film stirs up is ironically Thierry Guetta, Mr. Brainwash.  Guetta navigates his life on the wings of chance.  Finding out why he is so motivated to film everything and to seek out an interesting life for himself; creates a cool dynamic to this story.  Guetta's lens is the window into a fast paced world that is camouflaged in darkness and then uncovered in the light of day. 

Through a series of  life choices and events and mishaps the filmmaker, Thierry Guetta, becomes a street artist himself, Mr. Brainwash.  He doesn't have the typical motivations or passions for being an artist.  So for a while there are any number of ways the viewer sees him.  This is the part of the movie I found intriguing.

The way these artists meet and wind up working together and the way they share their own motivations is thought provoking.  Whether people see these freedom of expression activists as artists or anarchists or destroyers of law and order and public property; the reasons why they do what they do is out there.

Banksy uses the elephant in the room to prompt us to ask questions like, "What is art?"  Does it have a noble cause?  How serious do we take it?  What does it mean to be a successful artist?  And does success necessarily equal selling out?  These are all questions most artists ask themselves on pretty much a daily basis.  I liked this because it most accurately expresses the true angst of an artist.  Banksy rocks.

What I liked about this movie is that questions which could have been trite, are plastered against the recesses of our subconscious and left there for us to discover.  This documentary, was unintentionally filmed in a point blank,  YouTube Street style, which turned out to be the perfect venue.

Thanks to the editors, Chris King and Tom Fulford;  "Exit Through the Gift Shop," creates a subtle backdrop for some intensely poignant questions.  What does art mean?  What does freedom of speech mean?  What does it mean when these passions collide with the world around us?  Does it mean anything?  Does it have to mean anything?  What does it mean to be true to who we are?  How do we find meaning in what we do with our life?   And even leaves us wondering why we do what we do.

Its a slow subtle buzz, like creeper tea, it sneaks up on ya and suddenly you're thinking about all kinds of  interesting shit.

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