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Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

This documentary film had the strange effect of making me want to learn much more about its background figures and much less about its main subject. A quirky Frenchman named Thierry Guetta turned his compulsion to video everyone and everything to recording the exploits of Los Angeles's graffiti artists. He failed horribly as a film maker, but during the process befriended many of the world's most famous street artists, including the notorious Banksy of England whose works appear all over the world. Then comes an unfortunate role reversal. Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and the other graffiti artists we meet are remarkably creative types on a socially subversive mission, while Guetta (wrongly) fancies that he can become one of them. In a way he does. He markets himself as MBW ("Mr. Brainwash") and has his own exhibition in an LA warehouse that sells a million dollars of crass imitations in the first week. There's a delicious irony in the MBW moniker about the gullibility of consumers of art who crave to be part of the next big thing, even when it's a poser like Guetta, who is long on self-promotion and short on any real talent.

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