The Painter and the Thief

  • Genre: Documentary

  • Director: Benjamin Ree
  • Producer(s): Ingvil Giske
  • Studio: Elevation Pictures
  • Length: 1h 42m


When two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova were cut from their frames and stolen from an Oslo art gallery in 2015, Norwegian authorities quickly identified and arrested the two thieves but couldn't find any trace of the paintings.

Hoping to find out what happened to her paintings, Barbora approached one of the thieves, a junkie named Karl-Bertil Nordland, at his criminal hearing. She asked if she could paint his portrait and he agreed. As she befriended the thief, they formed an improbable relationship and an inextricable bond as she painted several portraits of him, without revealing that she was planning a heist to steal back her missing work.

As all this was happening, Norwegian director Benjamin Ree decided to document what was happening on camera, resulting in this documentary, released in 2020.


Barbora Kysilkova, Karl-Bertil Nordland, Øystein Stene
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