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KING OF THIEVES (KÖNIG DER DIEBE)

KING OF THIEVES
Scene from KING OF THIEVES (photo © Lichtblick Filmproduktion)

Ten-year-old Barbu lives with his poor family in a Ukrainian village. A circus artist named Caruso buys the older children off their poor parents, promising them a fantastic future in the West. Caruso also lures Barbu with the perspective of a wonderful circus career.

He and his older sister Mimma are smuggled on separate paths to Berlin. However, Barbu does not end up in the circus, but rather with a gang of brutal thugs who have the children steal for them. If they do not bring home enough stolen goods or try to keep something for themselves, they are beaten up.

Soon after her arrival in Berlin, Mimma is sold to a brothel. Barbu, however, wants to become the “King of Thieves” and waits for his sister who has “not yet arrived”, according to the gang leaders. Learning that she is being kept in a brothel, he wants to free her with the help of Caruso’s savings. Barbu is caught and while being beaten up, there is suddenly unexpected help for the King of Thieves...


Ivan Fila was born in Prague in 1956 and has been living in Germany since 1977. He graduated in Film Direction and Dramaturgy from the University of Cologne and has worked as a director, screenwriter and producer since 1983. He was nominated for the European Script d'Or for his screenplay to King of Thieves (Koenig der Diebe, 2004). A selection of his award-winning films includes: Harley Heaven (1983), Story of a Hope (1986), In the Name of the Revolution (1989), Through a Labyrinth (1990), Tales from Another World (1991), Vaclav Havel - A Bohemian Fairy Tale (1993), Fog (1995), Hitler's Blackmail (documentary, 1995), and Lea (1996).
Genre Thriller, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Ivan Fila
Screenplay Ivan Fila
Cinematography Vladimir Smutný
Ivana Davidová
Michael Kocáb
Dusan Luknár, Jan Vinar
Cast Oktay Oezdemir, Julia Khanverdieva, Katharina Thalbach, Jakov (Yasha) Kultiasov, Lazar Ristovski
Producers Rudolf Biermann, Ivan Fila, Helga Baehr
Production Companies Lichtblick Filmproduktion/Berlin, Charlie's/Bratislava, Slavia Capital/Bratislava, In Film Praha/Prague, in co-production with Ivan Fila Filmproduktion/Frankfurt, Mact Productions/Paris, Wega Film/Vienna, in cooperation with ARTE France Cinéma/Paris, ZDF
Length 109 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Karlovy Vary 2004, Moscow 2004 (In Competition), St. Petersburg 2004, Copenhagen 2004 (In Competition), Palm Springs 2004, Trieste 2004
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, BKM, Filmbuero NW, Cultural Ministry of Slovakia