The Painter and the Thief + Q&A
When two of Barbora Kysilkova’s most famous paintings get stolen in Oslo, the Czech artist decides to confront one of the accused in court. Unable to discover what happened to her artwork, she instead asks if she can paint the thief’s portrait—a surprising request that he agrees to. What follows is an extraordinary story of human connection and friendship.
Filmed over three years and full of twists and turns, Benjamin Ree’s documentary skillfully plays with chronology and perspectives to build an edge-of-your-seat narrative worthy of the best fiction scripts. Throughout the film, our understanding of both people—and even the stolen paintings—changes entirely. In life, certain aspects of human nature defy comprehension, and yet Ree materializes them in a way that is accessible and transcendent.
"Incredible. That’s the word that comes to mind with Benjamin Ree’s The Painter and the Thief, a stranger-than-fiction friendship story in which vérité techniques produce unbelievable results.“ — Variety
"The year's most moving documentary..." — The Guardian