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Thieves

Director: Jaime Marques Olarreaga

spain• 2007 • subtitled • dolby digital stereo •105 mins


Brought up in a children’s home, Alex (Juan Jose Ballesta) finds employment at a hairdressers but feels he’s not trusted because of his background. No surprise, then, that he’s unable to resist when temptation comes knocking. While searching for his mother, from whom he was separated as a small child, Alex perfects the tricks of the pick-pocketing trade. Then he meets Sara, a girl from the other side of the tracks who likes to flirt with shoplifting, and a new relationship is forged as they move away from his habitual haunts to bigger and more dangerous propositions. Director Marques Olarreaga’s debut feature is a poetic examination of marginality and delinquency. It avoids the gritty language of realism as it crafts a dreamlike reflection on the politics of belonging. There is something of Jean Genet’s visual language in Thieves, but Ballesta’s moving performance as the vulnerable young adult lends the film a welcome compassion and avoids easy judgments or facile sentimentality.—Maria Delgado.

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