My Kid Could Paint That (2007)

8 Jun

Abstract art is something very subjective as some people can go crazy for it and others will not understand what the fuss is about. They think it’s something their kid could do. This documentary looks at 4-year-old Marla, who makes paintings on big canvases. When some of them were displayed in a bar people were interested in buying them and once an article was written about her it was a story that was picked up everywhere, even internationally. The result was that people were willing to pay thousands of dollars to get their hands on one of her paintings.

Marla is considered as a prodigy and documentary maker Amir Bar-Lev follows Marla and her parents during their journey. It seems like Marla will have a succesful career, but when the program 60 minutes start asking questions about the authenticity of her paintings (did she really paint them herself), all the admiration starts to transform into disbelief and people start to question the family.

The end result is a fascinating documentary which shows all the ups and downs. It seems that Marla herself doesn’t react too much on all the hype, but it is obvious that her parents do. They want to prove that Marla really made the paintings herself and allow cameras in their home to allow others to see that she’s actually painting.

Even though they show she actually does paint it doesn’t take long to realise that there is a big difference in quality between the things that were filmed and other artwork which supposedly is hers. When you know that her father is an amateur painter himself you start to ask yourself even more questions about it and even Amir Bar-Lev starts to question the claims. It’s a documentary you will have to watch yourself to form an opinion.

The thing which is most interesting however is the question why people are willing to spend so much money on Marla’s paintings and feel cheated after having seen 60 minutes. You would think that someone buys a painting because they like it and think that it’s beautiful, but this doesn’t seem so. They have probably bought it for the story, which shows that a good story can sell a product and people are willing to spend crazy amounts of money. The documentary illustrates this perfectly in a segment in which an elderly couple wants to buy one of Marla’s paintings. It’s very obvious that the woman really doesn’t like the painting, but since it’s a Marla she does decide to purchase it.

The closing words are brilliant. It’s not about art, it’s about a 4-year-old who likes to paint when she’s home. Everything else is just hype.


Score: 8

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