The Painter and The Thief


Winner of a Special Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival: An artist befriends the thief who stole her paintings. She becomes his closest ally when he is severely hurt in a car crash and needs full time care, even if her paintings are not found. But then the tables turn.



The film has a 100% score on RottenTomatoes.

“Engrossing. The film’s sustained intimacy speaks highly of the trust the subjects came to feel for the filmmaker,
who is able to cut to the quick as he follows and reveals their life phases while also maintaining a filmmaker’s discreet distance.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

[An] astonishing documentary. The cinematic equivalent of a cubist portrait,
in which an artist and her unlikely muse are made to overlap,
revealing unexpected dimensions of one another over time.”
“In a genius final stroke, Ree pulls back to reveal the entire canvas,”
“[…]what is almost certainly documentary history: An artist plans a heist to steal back her missing work.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“A painted portrait tries to capture its subject in two dimensions. The Painter and the Thief sees its subjects in multiple ones,
going ever deeper and broader as it approaches its characters from different angles… Cinematographer Kristoffer Kumar
makes the most of Kysilkova’s haunted canvases… An intriguing tale of lost souls and found redemption.”
– Stephen Whitty, Screen International

“[A] nuanced and beguiling new documentary about the various things we all take from each other…
It’s a raw and loaded… frequently riveting movie… a work of art unto itself.”
– David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“[The] rare film that honestly explores the connection between compassion, desire, and the sublime.”
– Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“The unbelievable saga of an unlikely friendship, and is comprised of life’s natural highs, shattering lows, and the gradual moments of growth in between…
A documentary that looks at everyday humanity as a work of art.”
– Nick Allen, Roger

One of “The Best Movies From the 2020 Sundance Film Festival”
“Ree paints a remarkable portrait of two lives that become intertwined. The Painter and the Thief mostly lets the viewer just live with these
people and the tension that exists between them as it weaves in questions about muses, pain, and the act of creating art.”
– Esther Zuckerman, Thrillist

“An unexpected, multi-layered journey of eye-opening discovery… [An] exceptionally well-crafted verité documentary…
a compelling story of a man who’s seemingly lost everything, who finds potential… the non-linear joy of the film, which clearly and
powerfully connects the painter with her muse in an arresting and unusual way. The results are breathtaking to watch.”
– Ed Gibbs, Little White Lies

“Structurally interesting and packed with raw emotion and humanity. [He] knows a good story when he sees it.
Certainly, he has found one for his latest documentary… Ree has a strong instinct for documentary narrative… he upends expectations…
he keeps firm control of the film, allowing the full picture to emerge at its own pace until it fills the frame in unexpected ways.”
– Amber Wilkinson, Eye For Film