The Painter and the Thief (2020)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 42m

When two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova are stolen from an Oslo art gallery, Norwegian authorities quickly identify and arrest the two thieves but find no trace of the paintings. Hoping to learn what happened, Barbora approaches one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, a junkie and petty crook, at his criminal hearing. She asks if she can paint his portrait and, contrite, he agrees. What follows, over a number of years and a series of portraits, is an extraordinary story of human connection and friendship. As the film progresses, our understanding of the two people, and the stolen paintings, changes entirely.


Benjamin Ree


English, Norwegian

Bonus Content

21 mins
IFI Documentary Festival 2020 Q&A with director Benjamin Ree

IFI Head of Cinema Programming David O’Mahony speaks to Benjamin Ree, director of The Painter and the Thief, screening as part of this year’s IFI Documentary Festival.

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