Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Many secrets were kept from Thierry Guetta when he was growing up as the youngest child in a large French family. One of them was that his mother was dying. His obsession with film derived from his need to record so as not to miss anything. The only problem was that he knew nothing about making a film, so that when he started gaining a reputation among famous and infamous street artists for all the footage he was shooting, the result, something called Live Remote Control, was simply random footage of an almost aleatory nature, shot by what the legendary street artist Banksy describes as “someone with mental problems who happened to own a camera.” Recording the creations of these Houdinis of the art world (Shepherd Fairey, who made headlines over the appropriation of Obama’s image for the famous Hope poster, also makes a cameo), who materialize and disappear in the blink of an eye, was essential due to the evanescent nature of their creations. “Because I never made a film before and didn’t know how to stop, I kept on,” Guetta says. Exit Through the Gift Shop is not the film that Guetta made about Banksy, but instead records the history of Guetta’s obsession with the video camera and his eventual transformation into a street artist and phenomenon in his own right, named MBA, Mister Brain Wash. Banksy encourages Mister Brain Wash, while making his own film out of Guetta’s raw footage. Of Guetta’s artistic output, Banksy says during the film, “I used to encourage everyone to make art. I don’t do it so much anymore.”  

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