« Sundance Doc Programmers Libresco & Courier on 2011's Big Themes and How the "Three G's" Led to the Doc Premiere Section | Main | Part Two: Courier and Libresco Talk Sundance Stand-outs BUCK, HOT COFFEE, HOW TO DIE and WE WERE HERE »

December 21, 2010



Great interview...Banksy is the furthest thing from a sellout there possibly could be...Shepard on the other hand I dunno...but who cares? No one really, except each persons fanboys. I do think Banksy needs to think about the middle class in this movement though...the people that get up everyday and go to a job they aren't passionate about but see some street art that makes their day a little more bearable. Seems as though only the elite or less fortunate have any chance of collecting his works...the people that keep the World moving.

But what the fuck do I know?


...NOT the people that keep the World moving.


Leumas Darnley

IMO Banksy IS witty enough to invent MBW, the irony and wit in his art never ceases to amaze me.

PS I am in the middle class and I collect his work. You have to have an imagination to WANT to collect his work... and a few hundred quid :D



Yeah I don't buy it for a second. Banksy has literally elevated pranksterism to high art. MBW, the movie, this interview, very likely Banksy himself are all grand pranks within pranks within pranks. It's turtles all the way down...


I used to not like Shephard's stuff that much..but the fact that there are so many people who would rather go put up his stickers than make their own is interesting to me. It's like "I'm a vandal. I'm the Street Picasso. I'm going to go tag my town up with this design that someone I've never met came up with back when I was listening to Winger"


I have not seen the movie, but there seems to be a reoccurring theme in today's hollywood. Challenging what real is & playing with words- ala perception vs reality. Kids getting their rocks off on the everyday person's psyche. Realizing the volatility of human nature they take advantage and act like they are teaching something- maybe they are saying something. Are our short lives something to be utilized or played with? Phoenix & Affleck reflect this as well. Surprisingly poking fun at the human condition that River himself (sadly) succumbed to in his own point of view. I guess whatever pov you need to get by in life. But I can't help but feel protective of the everyday person looking for something/someone true to believe in. Seems some take advantage of their resources & take nothing seriously- including their own talents. Seemingly recklessly influencing others in whatever whim takes hold of the child heart. 'What can I get them to think?'-childlike power w/adult intelligence. Sounds dangerous. Very Dada twisted with a devil may care attitude. Seems like a waste of attention. But they did get me talking.

Michael Cox

I, too, as a documentary filmmaker, had had my doubts about the veracity of the entire project, but reading this interview, I am now convinced EXIT is "real," whatever that means. I've been writing about the nature of documentary in the 21st century and how perhaps it needs to be redefined as "docufiction" simply because every documentary trope, from handheld camerawork to jumpcuts, has been appropriated by fiction filmmakers (and why not?), thus documentary becomes a label we, the viewer, supplies to a film. Any film can have documentary value; and any so-called documentary can be contextualized as fictional (i.e.propaganda, for instance); those "parking lot conversations" Banksy refers to define and redefine not only EXIT but the genre.

justanother filmmaker

"We realized halfway through the edit that the ending needed to be as unresolved as possible. I’ve learnt from experience that a painting isn’t finished when you put down your brush – that’s when it starts. The public reaction is what supplies meaning and value. "

Really? Kind of a death knell for difficult, challenging or different art, yes?


The fact that Guetta never seems to crack a smile or break out of character in his public interviews makes me believe the whole thing is 100% real. Is the man who calls himself Thierry Guetta in the film the owner of a highly profitable vintage clothing store? It seems like it would be simple journalism to disprove this, and I have not yet seen any evidence that suggests that the man in the film is not who he claims to be.


That was pretty cool seeing how the stencils were pieced together.

Guetta's stuff was like watered down Budweiser.

I liked seeing what it takes to fool a public and feel good knowing how the LA fakeness is created so well.

The film's other greatness is it shows how you can make money with nothing but hype.

The only true art is Calvin & Hobbes....and jello


Such an awesome interview....incredible, really.
Thank you.

Chris Vidal

Shame that it is what it is, Thierry's a good dude, met him and hung out with him, as genuine as they come, a bit out of his friggin mind but he's all him...

Banksy is an artist, one who manipulates the audience with the messages in his images... They say Mr Brainwash is a copy cat, that he aint an artist, he's got a team... If you saw the movie, you will see when Banksy brings MBW to his studio(supposed studio) and they are making the bt telephone booth piece, unless BAnksy played himself and three other dudes int he movie, he obviously has assistants. MBW has some assistants, are the ideas 100% his, only he and those close to him as do Banksy's trusted.

Exit Through The Gift Shop as capturing street art on film and the art of it, all you others looking for artist validation are the same ones who believe in what the movie speaks of....



What I find very interesting is the hyper attention to the question: Is Mr. Brainwash real? What I find perplexing is how anyone could really answer that question with any kind of authority. Mr. Brainwash never claims to be real. He claims to be a person who shot hundreds of hours of film, got mixed up with some street artists, then became an artist himself. He HAS actually had numerous art shows, and sold art. If you have art shows and sell art, you are, by definition, an artist. Perhaps you would say that he is an actor that is playing a role scripted by Banksy. Are actors that make art (albeit with a team of experts) not artists? If it were discovered that he is acting, would his creations all of the sudden lose their essential art-ness? Hours of Thierry's film, documented in EXIT, attest to his history. The real question is, do you like Mr. Brainwashe's art? What does it say to you? Personally, Banksy and Fairey seem to have a lot more to say than MBW and therefore I like their art better - but that's just my opinion. And the movie is excellent - however you try to define it. JG

Lord Mercius

Granted, I was high when I watched it, but I got the strong impression that Mr. Guetta was mentally disturbed. It seemed others in Exit took notice of this a bit, but if the way he's editing Life Remote Control (if he's actually in control of the creation process of that movie) is in any way indicative of how he perceives the world (dramatized with scene splices and theatrical scores, of course), then we may be looking at an undiagnosed schizophrenic of perhaps a category heretofore unclassified. The way he describes things seems to indicate that he has no sense of chronological direction, that the catalysts of actions and events are mysteries to him, as well as people, and that, in spite of all this, he's somehow managed to--quite possibly through the incessant use of the video camera--make sense of it all and live some semblance of a 'normal' life. Perhaps the camera is what helped 'organize' reality chronologically for him, which explains his obsessive filming, since that part of his mind (possibly the thalamus, which translates short-term memory into long-term memory) does not appear to function normally.

Just a theory. If this is the case, then we're looking at a documentary within a documentary in more than one sense, in that the story of MBW happening upon the world of street art contains its own universe of material in addition to the world and dynamics of street art itself.

Any thoughts on this theory? Please feel free to email me. Not a psychologist (mathematician), but I read and study. Thanks!


Anyone who doubts the film should watch the DVD extra stuff.Clearlly it's as real as any film/docu,maybe a little artistic licence(I don't care).But I loved it.Also Banksy at Bristol art museum,after which I smiled for a week,at the ideas,serious messages/statements,humour an sheer genius.


Fascinating movie any way I look at it. At face value it's quite an education in street art. If Banksy really did craft this story and Thierry is his creative invention, it's a brilliant creation... certainly more brilliant than Thierry himself. My favorite line of Banksy's in the movie was something to the effect that whereas Warhol took stuff that was out there and repeated it until it was meaningless, MBW in turn had taken it up and made it really meaningless. This plays very nicely on the insecurity that lies at the secret heart of every art aficionado or -nada: that maybe they're being "taken in." (Warhol's character in "Basquiat": "*sigh* I just don't know what's good anymore!) Interestingly, Thierry's fraud provided a foil to good and sincere artists like Banksy and -- I guess -- Warhol. I think I know more about this art than ever before... I think. Anyway I like it more, and respect the artists' intent and skills.


I find it more satisfying to believe that EXIT is a mockumentry. I think the footage of street artists working are mostly real but my credulity was stretched to the breaking point near the end when MBW is getting his "show" together. I think the quantity of art he had produced with assistance was beyond what I could believe. Plus there were many enigmatic statements at the end that clinched it for me.

I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to my friends.


its funny how you only see mr. brainwash splattering paint on his "work" that takes a lot of talent.NOT.

i used to respect banksy and his work.
fairey is the biggest sell out in the world, followed by banksy.


Banksy, we want you in Armenia, cos here our streetartist have faced police, and may be judged.....for there graffiti of a ploitical prisoner and a hanged soldier.........react somehow.
p.s. I am a journalist, and may be I will be useful....

Frayed Knot

Grateful for this excellent interview but I can't help but read it as some of the MBW interviews I've digested: as light-hearted distraction and 3-card monte. In one moment Banksy is explaining that he's not clever enough for a ruse of this magnitude, and then he drops the Jack Benny quote with a curious postscript.

Personally, I like the film as a hoax and I don't think it drains the tale of its meaning. I'm also willing to accept that as a leap of logic, but frankly I see accepting the film as truth as an even larger leap. The film's various details: the storybook narrator, the offensive asides from MBW's confederates (and damn it Banksy you got yourself some EXCELLENT lines in this movie), the very strange Disneyland expedition, the very fact that Banksy was willing to let himself be continuously filmed by a seemingly genuine yet clumsy half-wit who could have easily had his film appropriated by the vice squad members he sloppily interacts with. It's all a bit too bizarre for straight dope.

I'm willing to bet that Guetta is a combination of truths, half-truths and pranky goodness (like perhaps anyone). I don't think the thing is wholesale wool but I do think MBW is a creation. The counterintelligence is there, as is the large group of smiling nodders. This is not Herzog, the film is not a mad scramble for truth with a semi-psychopathic genius. This is interpretive art and I'm willing to bet we'll never find the smoking gun, but nor have we found the smiling Banksy either.

All of Banksy's best ideas are here, fact or fiction: question what you see and know your enemy. And smile when they slip in excrement. As for him being a sell-out? Forget all that. Cream rises to the top and the slackjaws with disposable income will pay top dollar for it. At least he made an art object that most anyone can purchase to beautify their home and massage their brain with.

nicko longabaugh

My biggest issue is that Mr Brainwash's art is so obviously linked to