EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP was originally meant to be a film documenting the street art movement. But when mysterious street artist Banksy realized that filmmaker Thierry Guetta lacked the ability to turn the hundreds of hours of footage into a cohesive film, Banksy gave him a task: you become a street artist, and I will become filmmaker.
The result is a film directed by Banksy, who follows the movements of Guetta as he is introduced to some of
the world’s most recognized street artists. Yet there is still one enigma that Guetta chases around the world— Banksy. When the two finally meet Guetta is on cloud nine, until Banksy encourages Guetta to release his film. Suddenly everyone realizes that Guetta is indeed not a filmmaker. Not wanting to lose the footage, Banksy takes on the task of filmmaker and challenges Guetta to ditch the camera and become a street artist. Viewers watch Guetta’s rise to fame under the pseudonym Mr. Brainwash, including a turn of events that was impossible to predict—even by Banksy. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP culminates into a provocative, fascinating study of street art, vandalism, money, and fame, which brings up many questions but offers few answers.
The following questions will help you better understand this excellent film. After watching the movie, please take your time to answer each question. You can answer each question directly onto this Word Doc.
1.There has been extensive debate about whether the film is a real documentary or just a hoax. What do you think? Does it even matter whether it’s real or not?
2.Did this film change your view of street art? Of street artists?
3.Can you remember any street art that you have come across? How did you react to it?
4.Is it possible to draw a line between street art and vandalism? If so, where should the line be drawn?
5.What makes someone an artist?… General consensus? The work itself? The idea behind it? The years of effort it took to get to that point. Is art about going where no one has gone before?
6.Do you like street art? If so, is there any point in the film where you think the artists went too far? Or, are you opposed to the concept of street art?
7.The film raises a question about what should be defined as art. What are your thoughts? What is art to you?
8.How do you feel about political satire? Is it an effective way to criticize society that would otherwise not be open to criticism? In Banksy’s case, do you think his hilarious film succeeded in criticizing the art world, specifically the commercialization of art?
9Who owns the streets and other public spaces? Who gets to advertise their messages? What effect does it have on society when money determines what gets advertised in public?
10.Is there value in creative expression that is outside of the mainstream art market?