An interesting character study is what I was expecting director Benjamin Ree’s documentary The Painter and the Thief to be; the story of Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova. Specifically the unexpected bond she forms with Karl Bertil-Nordland, the troubled man who stole her paintings from a gallery in broad daylight.
Ree’s film is indeed a good character study. We get to learn some detail about Karl and Barbora’s stories, leading me to realise why their friendship makes sense. It’s just that I had additional questions that didn’t get answered. Particularly concerning detail about Karl’s childhood, his mother and two siblings.
By the end, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky both Karl and Barbora were to have met very important people in their lives. Especially at a time when they least expected it. In Barbora’s case, it’s meeting her husband and arguably Karl. And for Karl, it’s of course, meeting the extraordinary and compassionate Barbora. The latter case making The Painter and the Thief another memorable story of a beautiful and very unexpected friendship.
Other key moments that stood out include the specific scene that shows how truly transformative and powerful art can be. There’s also the satisfying footage of when Barbora is seen in her element while drawing and painting. Lastly, the footage of the open, honest and respectful dialogue between Barbora and her husband.
Watch The Painter and the Thief if you’re curious. I’m glad I saw it even though I wish that more of my questions had been answered.
Happy Film Loving