Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Painter and the Thief

The Norwegian documentary by Benjamin Ree examines the unlikely friendship that develops between artist Barbora Kysilkova and one of the thieves, Karl Bertil-Nordland, who stole paintings from her exhibit. While Barbora is at first mostly concerned with recovering the missing artwork, she soon becomes drawn to Karl as a subject for her work. Barbora's curiosity, rather than anger, towards the thief sets the stage for all that is to come.

With the lives of both subjects documented, and their time together, Ree uses some creative editing to decide how and when to provide certain information to the audience giving The Painter and the Thief a more narrative structure than most documentaries. The result gives us an inside look into the human flaws of both characters while beautifully showcasing how such an unlikely friendship could blossom under difficult circumstances. One of the most unexpected films of the year, The Painter and the Thief is a story of friendship, humanity, forgiveness, and struggle. It's an inspiring tale that I'm not sure could have been made anywhere else.

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