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TIFF Day 9

Film Recommendation / Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

There’s not much most can say about Banksy but that he’s committed. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ is a piece of art manifesting this trait so well it becomes perfect in ways I don’t have language to describe.

‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ embodies influence, time, evolution, identity, reality, framing, context, fantasy, and humanity — all packed into an 80-minute-long spiel outlining a generalized sort of contempt for a specific sort of person.

The documentary itself is easy to lose sight of. It’s Banksy’s film yet he presents as only a subject. That shapes our perception, significantly.

It’s not his glib put-downs, or the questionable integrity of his narrative that grates on me; it’s a significant act of cruelty. It’s Banksy’s hand in the creation and birth of the entity ‘Mr. Brainwash.’

Artistry is the touchstone here. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ is a perfect documentary on street art, and a perfect composition of elements built to present its case.

(Perhaps a more accessible film would’ve been the choice to make. ‘Knight and Day,’ is a great one. It’s from 2010. It also offers high-quality meta engagement (sorry, pun), high-level artistry, and also a lot of fun action and laughs. Ignore all the roofy-ing! It really is just a harmless plot device, I swear. Seriously, though, these two films have a lot in common, and a lot to recommend them for this. ‘Knight and Day,’ is one of the few movies I keep on my list of favourites.)

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