International Competition

The Painter and the Thief

Benjamin Ree
Screening time  
05.10. / Monday, 22:00 - 00:00 Ticket
09.10. / Friday, 15:00 - 17:00 Ticket

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 at his criminal hearing. She asks if she can paint his portrait and, contrite, he agrees. What follows, over a series of portraits and many years, is an extraordinary story of human connection and friendship. Benjamin Ree unfolds the fraught lives and vulnerabilities of two souls who come to recognize themselves in the other – the darkness, wounds, compulsions, and self-destructive behavior. He captures the revelatory moment when a junkie and petty crook who has done jail time, first sees his portrait and breaks down completely. Throughout the film, our understanding of both people, and even the stolen paintings, changes entirely.


Benjamin Ree

Benjamin Ree is a Norwegian documentary filmmaker who began his career working for BBC and Reuters. He works for the production company and broadcaster VGTV, which co-produced both Magnus (2016, feature debut sold to 64 countries and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival) and his second feature, The Painter and the Thief (2020). 

General sponsor

Kunstneren og tyven

2020, 102'

Directed by:
Benjamin Ree

Screenplay by:
Benjamin Ree

Benjamin Ree, Kristoffer Kumar

Edited by:
Robert Stengård

Uno Helmersson

Ingvil Giske

Produced by:
Medieoperatørene, VGTV

Festivals & Awards:

Sundance Film Festival 2020; International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020; CPH:DOX 2020; Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2020


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