The Painter and the Thief

Benjamin Ree
| Norway
| 2020
| 102 min

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 materialises them in a way that is accessible and transcendent.

Benjamin Ree
Ingvil Giske
Australian Premiere
Festival Year