This funny and illuminating exposé chronicles the unlikely rise of a French videomaker named Thierry Guetta, who became a Los Angeles street-art phenomenon. Created by the mysterious British artist Banksy, the film has faced questions over its veracity—Is Guetta a fabrication? Is he Banksy himself?—ever since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. But whether the movie is “real” or another Banksy prank is part of its superbly conceived subversive form: In addition to skewering the crass commercialization of art, the filmmakers raise larger questions about authorship, value, and truth.
This article first appeared in the January-February 2011 issue of Utne Reader.