The Painter

Der Maler

  • Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Germany, Switzerland
  • 2021
  • 95 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Masters

The famed German painter Albert Oehlen welcomes us to his studio to share his creative process. We see him struggling with the white canvas, muttering about balance, philosophizing about color, and weeping when the canvas “isn’t speaking to him.” Finally, the work is finished: an abstract composition like many Oehlen has painted before. Except… the man with the brushes is not Oehlen, but actor Ben Becker, who's playing Oehlen, directed by the artist himself.

Oehlen has built his entire career on challenging assumptions and raising questions, and now he's done it again. As the creator of the work, is Oehlen the author of the painting produced in the film, or is it Becker, who “acts out” reality and executes the idea in this documentary genre bender? And what implications does this have for the aesthetic, financial, and ethical value of the artwork? The interplay between irony and authenticity is sometimes hilarious, and mercilessly undermines the myth of the genius artist.


  • 95 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: German
  • Subtitles in: English
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Oliver Hirschbiegel, Albert Oehlen
Executive producer
Mike Downey for Film & Music Entertainment Ltd., Alexander Dittner
Philip Bienmüller, Severin Bärenbold, Dominik Frey , Timna Gibson, Alexander Kruse, John-Philip Kuhn, Michail Zeldin
Alexander Dittner

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