Though I love graffitis and I often take pictures when I see some pretty good ones, I know absolutely nothing about street art. Those beanies with "Obey" written on them? I had absolutely no idea a street artist made them --the same guy who made those famous Obama posters, by the way-- I just assumed it was some expensive brand. So that's one of the things I learned watching Exit Through the Gift Shop.
But mostly, I learnt about the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles whose obsession with filming literally every single moment of his day brought him first to meet some of the most famous street artists, Shepard Fairey (the Obey/Obama guy) and Banksy, and later to become a street artists himself.
Made by Banksy himself, I don't know how much of the story told in this documentary is actually true or if it is just Banksy trying to be in the spotlight while acting like he wants to avoid the spotlight, and feeding/growing the mystery that surrounds him. What I know is that, real or not, Exit Through the Gift Shop works. It works because it's put together in a way that is provocative and charming but most of all highly entertaining.
But that's not all. This documentary poses some pretty interesting questions about art. What is art really? What does it mean to people? How does it make people feel? But most important, what is talent?
|Revolver Entertainment, Producers Distribution Agency|
Arguably the most interesting aspect of Exit Through the Gift Shop is its subject, Thierry Guetta. This character, whether real or a work of fiction, is absolutely ridiculous. He definitely has some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder if not a mental illness --a guy who records everything on tapes, only to pile them up in his basement to never watched them sure has some kind of problem--, but he is such an intriguing and entertaining personality, and that's mostly because, just like Tommy Wiseau, he takes himself and all the stuff he does very seriously. And it's through Thierry Guetta that Banksy successfully shows that, sometimes, drive is more important than talent when it comes to art.