“Exit” Departs from Documentary Concept
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Art Behind Bars recently held a fundraiser where local painter Rick Worth gave the shirt off his back. And his baggy shorts too. Both were auctioned off for the benefit of the struggling non-profit that provides an arts program for jailhouse inmates. Luckily, Rick’s mom must have given him that classic advise about wearing clean underwear just in case … for he had no idea that bidding for his still-wet paintings would escalate to all or nothing.
My wife bought Rick’s signed shorts. Ruth Reiter got his paint-smeared shirt.
While these art programs assist in the rehabilitation of prisoners, some art can actually land you in jail. For example, graffiti art. You can get arrested for defacing other people’s property.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” – the documentary that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema – is about an elusive street artist named Banksy.
Correction. This film started out to be a documentary about Banksy but somewhere along the way the camera was turned and this became instead a profile of compulsive cinematographer Thierry Guetta directed by Banksy.
“The film is the story of what happened when this guy tried to make a documentary about me, but he was actually a lot more interesting than I am,” Banksy explains.
Turns out, Guetta is the cousin of another famous graffiti artist known as Space Invader and developed an interest in this sometimes illegal art form through him. Yet we cannot escape the beauty that’s sometimes displayed in street art.
So in this turnabout tale, Guetta becomes a graffiti artist known as Mr. Brainwash (MBW) and Banksy is the budding filmmaker.
Banksy’s real name is not known. The British-born artist’s works have appeared on walls around the world. Notoriously camera shy, he deports himself like a criminal in “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” his face not shown, his voice distorted.
With a style based on stenciling, Banksy says he got the idea while hiding from the police under a dump truck and noticed the stenciled serial number on the chassis. His stencil of a green Mona Lisa recently sold at auction for more than $85,000. Crime obviously pays.
Some movie buffs claim this documentary was staged, suggesting it constitutes a new subgenre, a “prankumentary.” If so, it’s a very entertaining joke.
[from Solares Hill]