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Movie Review: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP [m]

Updated on June 6, 2011

Starring: Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Rhys Ifans (narrator)

This is a weird real-life story of Thierry Guetta, a bumbling eccentric French filmaker and street art groupie who gets it into his head to track down and make buddies with the infamous Banksy, the worlds best known graffitii and stencil artist, and make a doco about him. Trouble is, Banksy (whose anarchic, piss-taking artworks decorate walls from the Middle East to Melbourne and sell for over six figures) is kinda like Zoro - no-one knows his true identity. Somehow, Guetta finds Banksy, but what happens is the masked, voice-modulated wall-bomber deftly turns the tables by flipping the camera onto his interviewer - making the movie about him instead! Truly bizarre yet funny, the film also features other spray-can icons like Shepard Fairey and Invader, while documenting the sad little world of the filmaker and his own aspirations to vandalise public property. Alas, while cool, it'll probably only serve to inspire another legion of baggy-panted, chroming-happy punks to tag a train with indecipheral scrawl, which really misses the point entirely.

5/5

WHO THE HELL IS BANKSY?

A brief history of the pseudonymous wall-scrawler...

WHO IS THE MASKED MAN?

Aside from the fact that he was born in Bristol, UK, no-one knows. Banksy either keeps his identity a secret to avoid prosecution, or he's really ugly. At one point, the UK tabloid media speculated he might be a guy called Robin Gunningham or Robert Banks, but they can't confirm or prove it.

TRENDY CELEBS LOVE HIM

Christina Aguilera once bought a Banksy stencil of Queen Victoria a a lesbian for $43,500. Other collectors include Kate Moss, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

THE POLITICAL PROTESTOR

Banksy has bombed the controversial Israeli West Bank barrier with images of children playing, people climbing over ladders and scenic views. His most famous image is that of a cheeky, anarchy-loving rat.

THE SATIRIST

Banksy once made a sheaf of 10 pound notes with Princess Di's head instead of the Queen's - they now sell for over $400 on eBay. He also replaced 500 in-store copies of Paris Hilton's album with smart-arse remixes, entitled Why Am I Famous? and What Have I Done?

STRAIGHT TO THE BANK(SY)

In 2007, Sotheby's sold Banksy's Bombing Middle England for over $177,000, along with five other pieces for around half that. The next day, Banksy updated his website with a mural of an auction house entitled, I Can't Believe You Morons Buy This Shit. His highest-selling work, Space Girl and Bird, fetched $500,000 - 20 times what auctioneers expected!

THE ARTISTE!

Banksy once walked into Paris' Louvre and erected his own twisted take on the Mona Lisa. In '07, a Bristol couple sold their house with a Banksy mural on the side through an art gallery so buyers couldn't remove it. It was listed as a "mural with comes with a house".

PUBLIC WORKS

After 97 percent of the public protested it's removal, Bristol council allowed a Banksy stencilled image of a naked man hanging out of a window on the side of a health clinic to remain. In May 2007, the street artist was awarded the art prize of "Greatest Living Briton" - in typical Banksy style he never showed up to collect the award. A few months ago, council workers accidently painted over Banksy's iconic parachuting rodent in Melbourne's CBD while removing other graffiti.

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