The movie

The Painter and the Thief

During his trial for stealing two paintings by Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova from an Oslo gallery, heroin addict Karl Bertil-Nordland was approached by the artist, who made an unusual request: would he pose for her when he got out of jail?

Length: 103 min
Country: Norway
Language spoken: Norwegian, English
Language subtitles: Dutch
Cast: Karl Bertil-Nordland (Zichzelf), Barbora Kysilkova (Zichzelf)
Director: Benjamin Ree
Release date: 2020

Description

During his trial for stealing two paintings by Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova from an Oslo gallery, heroin addict Karl Bertil-Nordland was approached by the artist, who made an unusual request: would he pose for her when he got out of jail? So begins this disarming, perhaps not-all-together-healthy friendship between two fascinating, damaged souls. Directed by Benjamin Ree in a way that allows us privileged entry into the world the two protagonists create, this is a stranger-than-fiction document that does not pretend to definitively answer what it is that draws these two to one another—but it does pose myriad questions about the psychology of self-destruction and the ineffable spark of attraction.

‘Astonishing, emotionally electric… You suspect that at some point during the four years filming the documentary, director Benjamin Ree’s camera became part of the furniture, practically invisible. This film is so intimate… What an engrossing film—and the gender reversal of a male muse inspiring a female painter has got to be one small step for art-world equality.’—Cath Clarke, The Guardian

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