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My Kid Could Paint That

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As a director, it is very important when making a movie to stay true to what he believes in order to truly allow his audience to relate what they are seeing. In order to make this happen, the filmmaker has to make certain decisions during the post-production, mainly during the editing process. For example: choosing the amount of footage being played, shots, music, locations, what moments to show, etc. As a result, the movie comes out shaped, as the director wants it to.

This allows the director not only to project his opinion, but also who he is as an artist.

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In “My Kid Could Paint That,” Bar-Lev, the director of the documentary uses hand-held shots, close-ups, found footage and open ended endings, which causes the viewer to change positively about Marla, to being more suspicious. This allows the audience to see how manipulative a director can be. Hand-held shots allow the audience to feel sympathy for a character or characters in a movie.

It allows the viewers to understand who and how they react to real life problems. The more real a character looks the more relatable it becomes to the viewer.

In my “Kid Could Paint That,” Bar-Lev uses an opening scene introducing Marla in a very childish way. She plays with her brother Zane as a normal four-year-old would. In this same scene, Marla states that she does not like to talk about her paintings or anything related to her artwork (Bar-Lev). Because of this, Bar-Lev decides to always show Marla as a little kid that is why she is never shown in a static/choreographed way (unlike her parents Laura and Mark who are always shown in an interview form: them sitting down and talking straight to the camera. Marla is shown as herself, like a kid, which is something that Bar-Lev stays true to by using hand-held shots. This method allows the audience to realize how Marla is just a kid who has a gift in painting. It shows how she does not really care about the fame or the money. She is still a kid that just enjoys paining. The viewers can appreciate this because of how Marla is being shown. Again, the director chooses the method of hand-held shots for a reason; he wants his public to like Marla. He wants his audience to see who Marla really is and how talented she can be.

He even starts comparing her to other painters. To painters that have the same style as Marla does. The audience does not consider though, that the director decides what painters to choose in order to compare Marla. This is how a director and start manipulating his audience. Found footage or archival film is used to demonstrate a comparison between the past and the present or to give a comprehensive understanding of a subject matter. Archival film is usually in black and white, or shot several years before the actual one. This medium shows evidence from the past; it shows how society has evolved.

Found footage is history on film. In “My Kid Could Paint That” Bar-Lev wants his audience to understand how impressive it is that Marla can paint as well as other famous, more mature/older painters. Marla was compared to Jackson Pollock, and abstract expressionist painter who made similar artwork. Bar-Lev goes back and forward showing images between Jackson Pollock working on his paintings and Marla doing a similar painting. (Bar-Lev) When Bar-Lev shows this, it becomes very clear that Marla and Pollock’s work is very much alike.

This is a great method for the audience to start believing how talented a kid like Marla can be and become amazed with her work. This viewer immediately realizes what his four-year-old can really do, paintings like Jackson Pollock’s. But not only is Marla compared to famous painters, she is also compared to other gifted children as examples of mature fascination with child prodigies like Shirley Temple. Again, the director cuts back and forth between Marla and Shirley Temple’s found footage. There is a small sequence where there are exact composed shots between the both “prodigies. Bar-Lev starts getting closer and closer to the faces of this two amazing artists, which really allows the viewers to compare both of them. Close-up shots are normally used to create tension, to allow the viewer to feel what the protagonist or character is going through. It is used to understand their agony, pain or sometimes happiness. In “My Kid Could Paint That,” the director shows close-ups every time the family is going to make big life decisions, but first Bar-Lev starts with wider shots, as the Olmsted’s lives start to change the filmmaker starts getting closer and closer to the faces of the family members.

First Bar-Lev starts by showing the family and how they live around a child with such talent. Laura and Mark, Marla’s parents are a typical American couple happy with their children and enjoying their lives. As the film evolves, the director starts getting closer and closer. The more famous Marla becomes the more important the family decisions become for example, how much a painting will cost, if Marla should be filmed while painting or not, should they allow the news to interview Marla, etc. and so Bar-Lev zooms into Marla’s parents. He wants the audience to understand who they are and what type of parents they are.

A perfect example of this is when both of Marla’s parents, Laura and Mark, are sitting in their couch watching the CBS News 60-minutes II show and the reporter is talking about how impossible it is four a four-year-old girl to make abstract paintings that are so complex. She believes there are very mature decisions made while the painting was being made, which is impossible for a four-year-old to even thing about. Because of this, the reporter believes that Mark must help Marla do the paintings (Bar-Lev). The instant this happens, the director immediately shows a close-up shot of Laura and Mark.

Action-Reaction. The director cuts between the news broadcast and their faces. The filmmaker shows Laura face and it is clear she is devastated, confused and mad because of what the reported had just said about her daughter and Mark cannot believe people think he helps Marla to do her paintings. The more they see the TV the worst it gets. This gives the audience a sense of who the characters are. Most of the times this types of reactions are being shown because the director may not only want to create attention and hook his audience but he also wants to create tension.

He specifically wants the audience to believe what he sees and what he believes in. He shows is version of the truth, his version of the reactions of Marla’s parents. “Open Endings are a great way to infuriate an audience. But by leaving the major conflict initiated by the suspense plot unresolved, they can also force us to confront your themes. ” (Fornes, 1) Bar-Lev creates a narrative in the documentary by introducing his characters, giving a climax and then a resolution, but he has the capability to add a turning point right at the end of the documentary and leave the audience with questions.

After the CBS news 60-minute report, Marla’s family went through a really tough time. Nobody wanted to buy Marla’s paintings because people truly believed her father helped her painting and also because when Marla was asked to paint while she was being filmed, she would never be able to complete one. Eventually Laura and Mark record Marla on their video camera making a painting “Ocean” from beginning to end. They created a DVD to show people how she indeed was the one making the paintings.

This video allowed previous collectors to believe in Marla again. (Bar-Lev). Bar-Lev later appears in the film talking to Mark and Laura and telling them how he had never seen Marla do an entire painting from beginning to end. He said he was not completely sure if he could believe in Marla’s work. (Bar-Lev). Adding this sequence to the film, makes the audience question Marla’s paintings again. Adding the last sequence of this documentary really shows the directors thoughts on Marla’s paintings.

If Bar-Lev would have finished the film right after the DVD Marla’s parents made of “Ocean”, people would have thought that Marla was indeed making the paintings herself, but when the director shows that he believes Marla gets help from her father, allows the audience to really wonder what was going on and what really happened in the end. It is a great technique used to leave the audience thinking about the documentary after it is finished and make them come up with their own conclusion. This method is also a great one to manipulate an audience. Raising questions is what Bar-Lev wanted. He shows what he wants the audience to believe.

The choices the director makes of what camera angles to use, what music, to use found footage or not to use found footage, to use this scene or the other, shapes the movie into what the director wants his audience to believe. He wants to project his opinion to other people; he wants them to believe in what he believes. With that, he has to make tough decisions that might even affect the people he is working with only to stay true to his artwork, to who he is as an artist and in the case of “My Kid Could Paint That,” he decides to tell people he is not convinced with Marla’s work. Bar-Lev raises questions to his audience on purpose.

He specifically made the choice to show the CBS News 60 minute broadcast to confuse the audience and start making them wonder what is happening, if Marla makes the paintings or if she does not. He shows how a couple is considering buying a painting made my Marla but they still believe it is not as mature as her previous work. Bar-Lev continually raises questions, because he is not even sure about what the truth really is. This does not necessarily mean that directors are bad people or want to destroy somebody’s life, in Bar-Lev’s case is his way of expressing himself and in what he believes in.

It is obvious that by how the documentary was ordered, Bar-Lev did originally think Marla made the paintings herself but as he continued working he was confused, therefore he left the audience with the same question. In conclusion it is very important to think that whenever a documentary is being shown, to remember that it is shaped and formed how the director wants it to be. All of the shots, music, etc. are chosen by the director in order to create a point or to prove something. This can allow an audience to change how they originally felt for a certain artist at the beginning and completely change in the end.

The director may choose to show the artwork of a painter in a bad way or in a good way. It is up to the filmmaker to project what he wants his audience to believe and it is up to the audience to take what they want from the film and believe what they want to believe. Documentaries are a director’s version of the truth, which does not necessarily mean it is the actual or the entire truth. A documentary can be manipulative and trick people in believing something somebody else thinks. It is an artwork left for peoples interpretation.

Cite this My Kid Could Paint That

My Kid Could Paint That. (2016, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/my-kid-could-paint-that/

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