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My Kid Could Paint That

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Is 4-year-old Marla, of Binghampton, N.Y., a child-prodigy painter, with an innate gift for abstract expressionism? Is there a con afoot, by her weekend-artist dad or her ambitious gallery rep? Who can judge whether splattered paint is child's play or high art worth millions -- and how? And, on another tangent, what sort of parents put a preschooler through the full-bore media wringer? You'll ponder these questions and more in Amir Bar-Lev's low-key but ultimately provocative and unsettling account of young Marla's three-year odyssey through Art, Fame, Scandal and Today's Media-genic Family. My Kid constructs two parallel tracks that reflect crazy light on each other: Just as one man sees deep meaning where another sees a paint blotch, so does the marketing of a child's "talent" toggle easily between opportunity and exploitation. There are no answers from Bar-Lev; he can't even sort out how the very act of his film might be shaping the story, altering perceptions or even harming Marla's childhood. Starts Fri., Nov. 23. Regent Square (AH)

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