King of Thieves

Kráľ zlodejov

Colour, 35 mm
Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, France, 2003, 103 min
Section: Czech Films

Directed by: Ivan Fíla
Script: Ivan Fíla
Dir. of Photography: Vladimír Smutný
Music: Michael Kocáb
Designer: Alexander Manasse
Editor: Ivana Davidová
Producer: Helga Bähr, Rudolf Biermann, Ivan Fíla
Production: Charlie’s Bratislava, koprodukce / co-production: Lichtblick Filmproduktion
Sales: In Film Praha
Contakt: Charlie’s Bratislava
Distributor: Bioscop, a. s.
Starring: Iakov Kultiasov, Katharina Thalbach, Julia Khanverdieva, Lazar Ristovski, Paulus Manker

About the film

Thanks to their artistic abilities, ten-year-old-boy Barbu and his thirteen-year-old step-sister Mimma find their way out of the spiritual and material poverty of a decayed Roma village somewhere in Ukraine. Their wretched father sells them to his worldly countryman Caruso, who affirms he is looking for new talent for his circus in Berlin. However, the children’s dream of artistic fame is immediately broken on the sharp edge of reality; Caruso smuggles them across the border, splits them up, and begins to train the young boy as a pickpocket. Alongside his crafty mate – the Albanian lad Marcel – Barbu experiences a daily hell in the city streets, but only slowly begins to understand that he has become the victim of a cynical swindler. Caruso has a weakness for the skilful young artist, as does his dying girlfriend Julie. When Barbu discovers that Caruso has sold Mimma to a brothel, he decides to take his fate and that of his sister into his own hands. But they need more than courage to get back home…  

About the director

Ivan Fíla (b. 1956, Prague) began as assistant to the directors Jan Schmidt and Zdeňek Brynych. In 1977 he emigrated to West Germany, where he studied direction and dramaturgy at the Fachhochschule in Cologne. He established himself as a director with a number of short and feature-length documentaries which won a number of awards. He made his feature debut in 1996, with the psychological drama Lea, starring Lenka Vlasáková in the title role and based on his own script. He was already considering a film about children who become the victims of organised crime at the beginning of the 1990s. The script for King of Thieves was ready in 1992,  but a number of problems stood in the way of its realisation until the director – owner of the production company Ivan Fíla Filmproduktion – succeeded in arranging a production alliance with companies from Austria, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  

Charlie´s Bratislava
Jeséniová 47, 831 01 Bratislava
Slovak Republic
Tel: +421 254 655 027
Fax: +421 263 832 493

Bioscop, a.s.
Kunětická 2, 120 00 Praha 2
Česká republika
Tel: +420 222 254 461
Fax: +420 222 254 462

In Film Praha
Kříženeckého nám. 322, 152 53 Praha 5
Česká republika
Tel: +420 224 228 289
Fax: +420 267 073 627

Supported byGeneral partnerMain partners
Ministerstvo kultury ČEZ RWE Vodafone Karlovy Vary KVIFF Partners