The Painter and the Thief

Dir. Benjamin Ree, Medieoperatørene, VGTV, 2020 | 102′, Norway, 12+

Two of Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova’s paintings were stolen from an art gallery in the Norwegian capital Oslo. The police soon identify and arrest both thieves, but they fail to locate the paintings. The artist wants to learn more about the theft, and so she decides to befriend one of the thieves. After meeting in the courtroom, Karl-Bertil agrees to pose for a portrait by Barbora. An improbable and complicated friendship develops between two lonely souls. Both have encountered a lot of darkness in their lives, and see in each other a rare reflection of their inner selves.

Director Benjamin Ree comes from a family of artists, and the idea for the film arose from a general interest in the art theft phenomenon. At first there was a plan for a short film, but after Karl-Bertil’s emotional reaction upon seeing his portrait for the first time, the decision was made to continue filming. The director filmed his subjects for three years.

In Norwegian and English with Latvian subtitles.