Side By Side is available on Netflix now. I’ll see you in 100 minutes.
Whether its real or not, is immaterial.
It’s a film about a man (Thierry Guetta) who takes over the art world, by guile or luck or something else entirely. Its all too fitting that everyone wants to know about the authenticity of the document, when the entire film is built around the question of whether or not this artist is authentic, himself.
Banksy, whoever he may truly be, has made an incredible film that asks important questions about consumerism and the way we understand art. Originally known for his own street art, which often erases the lines between the piece and the environment in which it is displayed, Banksy has now done the same with his movie. The questions of originality and reality in the film have filtered out to the real world where questions of whether or not the film is a true story or a hoax have become as much fun as the film itself. The symmetry of Guetta fleecing unknowing fashionistas in his clothes store in the beginning of the film only to wind up doing essentially the same to thing to the art world at large at the end of the film, is almost too spot on the believe even though the film’s director claims it’s all real.
But it doesn’t matter. The point is made, whether Thierry Guetta is a real man or Banksy or someone else entirely.
It’s the best movie I’ve seen this year.