The Painter and the Thief review: The true story of an artist and her unlikely muse
Home » General Information » The Painter and the Thief review: The true story of an artist and her unlikely muse

The Painter and the Thief review: The true story of an artist and her unlikely muse

Grand thievery is dedicated with the aim of enriching somebody’s personal coffers, usually the thief’s. And that’s lawful of some art theft as properly; paintings or sculptures are stolen so they can be sold on the black market, or earlier as a bargaining chip.

But sometimes art disappears for reasons that are sophisticated to understand. On April 20, 2015, thieves made off with two paintings by the younger Czech painter Barbora Kysilkova, who was exhibiting at Galleri Nobel in Oslo, Norway. Kysilkova is a talented painter, mostly of parents in emotionally charged moments, nonetheless she wasn’t particularly properly-identified at the time. And the way the paintings have been stolen was peculiar: Rather than merely cutting the canvases from their frames, the 2 thieves eliminated each staple, in a way that appeared to indicate, as information broadcasts notorious, that one or both of them have been professionals.

Kysilkova, who had moved to Oslo to be with her partner, was disheartened by the theft, especially because one in every of the paintings was personally significant to her. But she was also interested inwhyanyone would steal these two paintings, and she wantedto meet the thieves.

She tracked down one in every of them, Karl-Bertil Nordland, an intelligent and tattooed Norwegian who was so excessive at the time, he told her, that he couldn’t be aware why he did it — or what he did with the paintings. Kysilkova, both extraordinarily empathetic and headstrong, found her interest turning from the stolen paintings to the stealer, and asked Nordland if she may paint his portrait. When he saw it, he exploded into tears. And their friendship and creative partnership began to develop.

It sounds appreciate the setup for a finely realized fictional drama, nonetheless it unquestionably’s the lawful story that unfolds inThe Painter and the Thief, a documentary that feels appreciate an elegant fairy tale. Directed by Benjamin Ree, the film follows Kysilkova and Nordland for several years as they meet, begin to work together, and produce a relationshipboth as painter and muse and as chums.

A man sits on a couch while a woman paints him.

Kysilkova and Nordland inThe Painter and the Thief.
Courtesy of Neon

Nordland is a petty criminal who’s addicted to medicine when he meets Kysilkova. But his existence wasn’t always that way, he tells us; he was an elite BMX biker and a talented carpenter at one time in his existence. Kysilkova finds him fascinating as a muse, nonetheless is frustrated together with his habit of disappearing for days and his refusal to get assist for his addiction — a refusal that eventually drives away his girlfriend as properly. After a sinister car accident, he lands in the hospital and then in prison. Meanwhile, Kysilkova struggles to earn adequate cash to pay lease on her studio and quibbles with her partner, who questions how healthy her interest in Nordland can be.

Ree follows quietly, invisible adequate to his matters that they usually let their guards down. We hear what Kysilkova and Nordland are thinking now not moral about themselves nonetheless about one another; the story wraps back on itself several occasions to give us a assorted point of view and to let us leer what it is to be Barbora the painter or Bertil the thief.

And that is what makesThe Painter and the Thiefso significantly intimate and gripping: Thru two assorted gadgets of eyes, we are asked to learn how to leer. A painter appreciate Kysilkova trains themselves to witness and leer the realm in a assorted way from most other folk. Several occasions during the film, Nordland says that he marvels at how sheseeshim. But he sees her too — more keenly than she may imagine — and starts to understand what motivates her, what hurts her, and why she paints the realm.

The Painter and the Thiefgained a prize at Sundance for creative storytelling, and no surprise: It actively challenges what we think we understand about its characters based on their appearance, class markers, or behavior. It highlights the way artists of all kinds, from painters to filmmakers, transform reality into something that’s at least a petite fictionalized in repeat to make their work — and how all and sundry conceals the reality a petite.

It also trains the audience, moral a bit, on how to turn into these thatleer. Whether it’s the way Ree’s camera strikes across a painting or the angle from which he frames and shoots Kysilkova’s and Nordland’s relationship,The Painter and the Thiefcoaxes its viewers to stop and pay attention to the realm in repeat to learn to adore it. By the time the breathtaking final 2nd arrives, we have learned, a petite better, how to reallylookat the realm, as a lover of both beauty and the strange bits of ourselves that make us really human.

The Painter and the Thiefopens on May 22 invirtual cinemasand digital platforms, includingiTunes,Fandango Now, andGoogle Play. Some virtual screenings on opening weekendalso involve Q&As with filmmakers and matters(one moderated by me).Detect the film’s web station for fleshy details.

Reinforce Vox’s explanatory journalism

Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the realm, with information that has the energy to save lives. Our mission has by no means been more vital than it is in this 2nd: to empower you via understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more other folk than ever, nonetheless our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will now not constitute a donation, nonetheless it unquestionably will enable our staff to continue to supply free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this 2nd requires. Please assist in mind making a contribution to Vox today.