The Painter and the Thief
In 2015 two paintings are stolen from a gallery in Oslo, Norway. Surveillance cameras record the theft, and two men are soon arrested. At the trial, Barbora, the artist, approaches Karl-Bertil, one of the thieves, to ask why they stole her painting. The answer—because it was beautiful—will keep these two in each other’s orbit for years to come. Barbora, sensitive and curious, seeks retribution from Karl the only way she knows how: by painting him. Karl, a recalcitrant drug addict, agrees to sit but maintains his distance. Karl’s tearful outburst upon seeing the portrait indicates that Barbora has captured not only his likeness, but something he’s kept buried inside.
Director Benjamin Ree deftly switches perspectives throughout the film, preventing the viewer from being taken fully into the confidence of either character. Furthermore, Ree’s access to the startling intimacy that develops between Barbora and Karl raises fascinating questions about what separates the artist from the muse, where artistic inspiration comes from, and who owns it. RM
Benjamin Ree, Kristoffer Kumar