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The Presentation of Modern Street Art in The Exit Through The Gift Shop

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Exit Through the Gift Shop

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a Banksy-produced film from 2010. It follows the life of Thierry Guetta, also known as MBW or Mr. Brainwash, and is a general documentation of street art in the late 1990’s to the present. The intended audience is likely general, but is mainly for art enthusiasts and Banksy fans.

The subject of the film is street art, with the second half following Thierry Guetta’s rise to fame. The first half is mainly footage from Thierry Guetta’s perspective, while the second half is about Thierry Guetta’s debut as MBW. It was mainly filmed in Los Angeles, with small portions filmed in Europe. The biggest event in the movie is Guetta’s disproportionate success with his debut.

The purpose of the documentary is both to chronicle the works of street artists, but also to highlight Guetta’s alter ego, MBW. The main message that Banksy tries to convey gets lost in the almost satirical nature of the film. There is a debate that the film’s premise is in reality a hoax, and MBW is actually a creation of Banksy himself. However, Banksy states the the film is “real”.

I knew very little of Banksy or of the movie prior to watching the film; I knew only that he was one of the world’s most infamous street artists. Because I didn’t know what the film was about, or of Banksy’s nature, I started the documentary with an open mind, expecting nothing. After finishing the film, my main question is of course: is the film serious? Is MBW in fact Banksy’s creation?

The sound effects in the film, particularly the music, was beneficial to the mood Banksy tries to convey in each scene, however there is nothing in particular that stands out. The first half of the film is mainly shot in a POV method, from Guetta’s perspective. As Guetta is often on rooftops or other interesting places, the shots are almost always interesting. The interviews, at first, seemed to be important, but as the movie progresses one starts to wonder whether the interviews are real rather than scripted by Banksy. Rather than learning, it almost seems as if you are even more in the dark after seeing the interviews. Besides cuts and time lapses, there are no significant special effects.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest or curiosity about art or Banksy. I enjoyed the films halfway transition, where it goes from being Guetta’s movie, to Banksy’s. I learned a little about the culture of street art, but the movie proposes more questions than answers. I believe Banksy was successful in portraying the subject matter of MBW; Whether or not it is a hoax, the rise of MBW is covered well. I was particularly surprised about Guetta’s success in making art, as he had done little to none previously. The main drawback of documentaries is that it has a niche audience, many could get bored by the movie. I would recommend this documentary to those interested in art, or documentaries.

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The Presentation of Modern Street Art in the Exit Through the Gift Shop. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from
“The Presentation of Modern Street Art in the Exit Through the Gift Shop.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
The Presentation of Modern Street Art in the Exit Through the Gift Shop. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
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