Then, the film takes an unexpected turn, and becomes about the obsessed film-maker. He (Thierry Guetty) moves from chronicler of the artistic process (albeit, a chronicler who can't cohesively express what his chronicling has meant) to co-opting the artistic process of those he has followed. Banksy, a true artist and provocateur, winsomely turns the camera around to witness his acolyte becoming appropriator, as Guetty the film-maker commodifies the very art he has adored.
Among the many things the film questions, I think one of them is sincerity and appreciation. In our market culture, does a measure of appreciation eventually lead to callow and empty repetition? Is there a wringer a "real" artist must travel through in order to prove his/her authenticity? "Exit Through the Gift Shop" light-heartedly suggests a yes to this question, and I appreciated the way the film-maker flipped the script and made me probe these ideas, and the others things that fall between getting one's art up/out there and reaping profit/influence/imitators. Also, it made me feel a modicum cooler. For like an hour.
Continuing on the theme of obsession, I am obsessed with Richard Holmes' The Age of Wonder at the moment. I expect I will have more to say on the book when I have finished it and my thoughts have cohered a bit more, but I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone with an interest in the Romantic period, the history of scientific experimentation, or mad, obsessed people who succeed in changing the world. A.K.A. I cannot recommend it highly enough to everyone.