Benjamin Ree's film tells surprisingly powerful story of gifted artist who befriended man responsible for stealing two of her paintings
NEON has released a trailer for The Painter and the Thief, the award-winning documentary from Norwegian director Benjamin Ree that's sure to be a big factor in awards season later this year.
The film startles with its moving and intimate portrait of the unlikely bond between artist Barbora Kysilkova and Karl-Bertil Nordland, a thief who stole two of her valuable canvases. Kysilkova became very close to Nordland after his arrest for the art heist and eventually made a number of paintings of him, including the one above. At the Sundance Film Festival in January The Painter and the Thief won a Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling.
I'm very fascinated by art robberies.
At a Q&A following the world premiere of the documentary at Sundance, Ree was asked how the project came about.
"It all started with me researching art robberies and we have a great tradition of that in Norway," Ree joked. "I'm very fascinated by art robberies... This story was on the front page on the news in Norway, so I just contacted Barbora."
NEON acquired worldwide rights to The Painter and the Thief after Sundance. It plans to release the film May 22, two weeks after another NEON documentary, Spaceship Earth, comes out. The studio is employing some outside-the-box thinking to get its films in front of audiences in spite of the closure of most theaters in the U.S. caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release issued last week by NEON, the company "plans to implement an innovative strategy including utilizing drive-ins and safe pop-up city-scape projections (safely accessible by quarantined city dwellers). Theaters and affected businesses will also be able to screen the film on their websites."
Watch the trailer here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.