Saturday 13th August 2011 Channel 4 @ 9.00pm
Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
Documentary following eccentric French shop keeper and graffiti fan Thierry Guetta as he sets out to make a film about street art but becomes obsessed with tracking down and befriending the notoriously camera-shy Banksy. He finally locates the elusive artist but quickly finds his footage commandeered and the focus of the feature turned on himself. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work.
Sunday 14th August 2011 Channel 4 @ 10.30pm
Graffiti – the work of mindless vandals or creative geniuses? To some it is art, to others it is a sign we’ve lost control of our cities. Since Roman times graffiti has been a form of anti-establishment rebellion. But today it is transcending social nuisance to gain cultural and artistic credibility, unprecedented prices at auction and even Presidential and Prime Ministerial approval.
However, at street level a bitter war is being waged between graffiti writers, street artists and the authorities. While graffiti writers face trial and prison sentences for their art, some street artists’ work is lauded and protected behind Perspex. This issue is at the heart of a graffiti war being fought on the streets of London between one of the founding fathers of the British graffiti scene and the most famous street artist in the world.
In London over the past 18 months the tension between the camps has played out in a battle of spray cans between supporters of freehand graffiti writer King Robbo and those of his nemesis, the stencil-using street artist Banksy.
The “graffiti war” between the two men began in the early 90’s but was re-ignited by what was widely seen in some graffiti circles as an unforgiveable transgression of graffiti “rules” by Banksy. It was an act that pulled 80s legend King Robbo out of retirement to retaliate in the place where it all began, the streets. Directed and produced by Jane Preston, the film goes behind enemy lines as the war escalates – until tragic and unforeseen circumstances bring about an unexpected ceasefire.
Sunday 14th August 2011 Channel 4 @ 12.40am
Dark Days (2001)
From novice filmmaker Marc Singer comes this cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City, Singer lived in the bowels of a midtown Manhattan railway station for two years to shoot this harrowing account of the day-to-day existence of the homeless.
Shot in noirish black and white, Singer shows how society’s discarded and disenfranchised fashion a community of sorts in the sunless labyrinth of the station’s transit tunnels. Though told without narration, a dozen or so individual stories emerge. Dee (the sole woman depicted in the film) lost all her children in a house fire while she was high on crack; Ralph remains inconsolable after his five-year old’s rape and mutilation during a stint in prison.
In the final reel, Amtrak sends in armed police to clean out the tunnels, citing health concerns. However, the subterranean tenets happen upon a stroke of luck, as an NYC social worker discovers a cache of previously unclaimed public housing.
Featuring a haunting soundtrack by DJ Shadow, Dark Days won the Grand Jury prize for cinematography, the Freedom of Expression award, and an audience award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival