Exit Through The Gift Shop – The G Review

Posted by The G on April 12, 2010 under G Reviews | 6 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

Exit Through The Gift Shop - In theaters April 16, 2010.

Our good friends at Brooklyn Vegan hosted a free screening of the new Street Art disaster movie “Exit Through The Gift Shop” at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on April 11, 2010 (and we got free posters too!  Thanks BV!)  The film features Shepard Fairey, Theirry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash and Bansky, 3 street artists that I’ve written about a lot on this blog.  Knowing they were the focus of the film, I didn’t see how I could possibly not like it but I didn’t like it.  I loved it!

As the film opens, Guetta, who immigrated to Los Angeles from France, discovers the wonderful world of video cameras and literally recorded everything he possibly could in almost an insane obsessive-compulsive way.  One thing lead to another and before long Guetta had begun to follow street artists around on their late night jaunts through the neighborhood as they posted their latest masterpieces.  Guetta captured the hi-jinks and danger of what street artists do and finally he had enough footage (and you’ll probably gasp when you see exactly how much footage he had) to make a documentary.  It is then when he hears about the most elusive street artist of them all, Britain’s Banksy, and Guetta becomes obsessed with trying to track him down to get some footage.  After another chain of events, Shepard Fairey  finally connects the two and Banksy, after having his face blurred and his voice disguised, allows Guetta to interview him and take him around and let him film his guerrilla art installations.  One of the highlights of “Exit Through The Gift Shop” is when Guetta and Banksy go to Disneyland in California and put up their version of a 9/11 memorial.  After viewing a nearly unwatchable rough cut of Guetta’s film, Banksy suggests that Guetta make his own street art instead and Mr. Brainwash is born! The next part of the film focuses on Guetta’s transformation into the next great street artist. There’s great footage of both Brainwash and Banksy’s first art show in Los Angeles (each happened several years apart) and how Guetta literally brainwashed the media into making him the next big thing in the art world.

The tongue-in-cheek interviews with Banksy are worth the price of admission alone, but the jewel of the movie is the rare footage of the world’s greatest street artists creating the world’s largest counter-culture movement since punk music hit the scene.  One of my favorite sites, Wooster Collective, even gets a shout out!  When Oscar nominations roll around in 2011, it’s going to be a nail biter for me because I know “Exit Through The Gift Shop” will be competing with “When You’re Strange,” for the best documentary category and even though we are only 4 months into the new year, I know I’ve already seen the best two films 2010 will have to offer.  “Exit Through The Gift Shop” opens in selected theaters on April 16, 2010.

To make life easier, here’s a more specific list:

Opening On April 16th:

New York: Sunshine Theater
New York: Lincoln Plaza
Los Angeles: The Landmark
Los Angeles: Arclight, Hollywood
San Francisco: Embarcadero
Berkeley: Shattuck
San Rafael: Rafael
Palo Alto: Aquarius

Opening On April 23rd:

Philadelphia: Ritz 5
Chicago: Century
Seattle: Harvard Exit

Boston: Kendall Square

Opening On April 30th:

Minneapolis: Lagoon
Washington DC; E Street
Baltimore: Harbor
Atlanta: Midtown Art
Denver: Mayan
San Diego: Hillcrest

Opening May 7th:

Detroit: Maple Art
Houston: River Oaks
Dallas: Angelika
Milwaukee: Downer
Providennce: Avon

Opening May 14th:

St Louis: Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis

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