Staring Karl Bertil-Nordland and Barbora Kysilkova
Directed by Benjamin Ree. Run Time 1h 42min
Most stories have a similar course they take as they are being told. “A guy walks into a bar”, I mean stop me if you have heard this one before. For most movies the stories can seem to follow the same road as well, boy meets girl, girl leaves boy, and then girl comes back. Then you have the story of Barbora and Kar, but please stop me if you have heard this one.
Barbora is a painter who paints naturalistic paintings that are truly a sight to see. After a show at a gallery, her pieces were still on display when a couple of guys break in and remove the paintings from their frames and take off with them into the night. Luckily for Barbora these criminals are not masterminds and they are plainly captured on camera and apprehended. The story does is not wrap up in a happy ending, as you see the bad guys were caught, but the paintings were nowhere to be found. That is where this story starts to become one that you don’t hear often. Barbora goes to the hearing for one of the thieves, which is Karl, and gets him to agree to a meet. Once they meet she tries to get where the painting is, but that night as well as an entire week is a blur to Karl because of what he was on. As life stories are exchanged a bond starts to form and Karl soon turns from thief to subject as Barbora wants to start sketching him. Karl looks like he is finding the right path, but things become complicated, as his former life and choices cause chaos. It is at that point that Barbora and Karl reconnect and the story takes a turn that might just restore your faith in humanity.
Very few things in life can bring out the feels more than a good documentary that is able to show you how powerful the human spirt can be. In a world where everyone seems to be powered by hate, it’s good to see that love and forgiveness actually exist and that two people from different sides of the tracks can get along with one another. Barbora is an artist and easily finds the beauty in the world, so much so she is able to find the beauty in Karl even when he has the appearance of the roughest piece of coal. Everyone knows if you apply the right amount of pressure though you can turn a piece of coal into a diamond and Karl demonstrates that. What also feels so good about The Painter and the Thief is that Benjamin Rae never feels like he is part of the story and blends in so effortlessly. This film will leave its mark on you, as it should, because the world is not full of darkness, and this is just the light we need in our life right now.
The Painter and the Thief is currently streaming on Hulu