Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010 / Banksy

banksyExit Through the Gift Shop is a unique movie. I’m not saying unbelievable, or a classic, just unique. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough films, but this one caught me by surprise. One note – if you go and see it, try not to read anything about it in advance. All I knew beforehand: some guy approached Banksy with the idea of making a documentary about him (if you don’t know much about Banksy, you have some catching up to do, so start now – though I’m not saying start here). Guy was so weird and interesting that instead of telling him to fuck off, Banksy decided to turn the tables and make a documentary about him. Cue Oscar nominations and shit. Well, it’s nothing like this. Of course, there is a hint of such storyline, but that was one lame synopsis I’d read. In fact Exit Through the Gift Shop goes much deeper, many levels and layers deeper, twists and turns, mostly on itself, but at the end – on you. Am I sure what I saw? Am I sure I got it? I don’t know for sure, all I know this documentary/mockumentary/piece of art/movie graffiti does work… I have a vague suspicion Banksy had to in some way respond, with a statement in his style, to the claims of him turning into a sell-out. But that’s just a vague suspicion. More than that though, the film is a statement about the nature of art today. Of what we make of it, how we make it be, how we build it up from nothing using purely the all-powerful tool of HYPE. Hype is a widely accepted means of misrepresentation, and Banksy happily embraces this tool, making the joke be simultaneously on the main character (typecast French weirdo Thierry Guetta), on himself, on the art world, and since all of these in the end seem to be non-existent (yeah, Banksy actually doesn’t exist, all these conspiracy theories and educated guesses and non-educated guesses about his identity define him as such), so, since all of these in the end seem to be non-existent, the joke lands on us viewers. We are all part of the shit, we make it be, we feed the shit every day. Exit Through the Gift Shop manages to be at the same time extremely funny, true to history, quite depressing and all made up. But it serves its major purpose – it makes us think. Think, think, think, keep thinking as you squeeze your eyes and make your way out through the gift shop, cause that’s the only way out. We’ve made it that way.

Just watch the film, all I can say…

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The personal website of director Ivaylo Minov

I am a Bulgarian-born filmmaker working between Sofia and London. Over the last six years, I have been directing TV commercials for agencies like DDB, Leo Burnett, Lowe Swing, Publicis, Huts JWT, Demner Merlicek & Bergmann. I have worked for a wide range of clients – from mobile telecoms through charities to a viral campaign for a presidential candidate at the 2011 elections in Bulgaria.

I have a film making diploma from the London Film Academy, following a BA degree in Journalism by the American University in Bulgaria. I have worked in media and theatre, before discovering my passion for film making and turning it into a full-time devotion.

Find me at:
liaminov (at) gmail.com
0044 7757 428696 (UK)
00359 886 880564 (BG)