Exit Through the Gift Shop is an Academy Award nominated documentary released in 2010. It is a film made by notorious street artist Banksy about up and coming French artist Thierry Guetta, or a film made by up and coming French artist Thierry Guetta about notorious street artist Banksy, depending on how you look at it.
The documentary is filmed by Guetta, a camera toting French immigrant living in Los Angeles. When he learns that his cousin is the street artist Invader, he gets the idea to film a documentary about street art. Guetta meets a variety of renowned artists before becoming friends with Banksy. He is allowed to shadow Banksy and films him creating several different pieces. Eventually, Banksy encourages Guetta to create his own work.
At this point, the documentary changes direction completely. Guetta adopts the name Mr Brainwash and attempts to make a name for himself as a street artist, while Banksy takes over the production of the documentary. The result is Exit Through the Gift Shop.
This film is an exclusive insider's look at the world of street art. Viewers are afforded a rare look at Banksy's life (his anonymity is protected by voice altering software and facial obscuring) and it is a must-see for any fan of graffiti or street art.
What's interesting is that many reviewers and art critics have claimed that the film is a hoax and that the so-called documentary is itself a work of street art – that by creating the character of Thierry Guetta, Banksy is making a commentary about the commercialisation of the genre and people who get involved for the wrong reasons. Regardless of the films authenticity, it is a humorous and interesting watch.
Exit Through the Gift Shop can be purchased from most large DVD retailers and is available for rental online.