Letters to a Book Thief

As a young man, Laéssio Rodrigues de Oliveira worked in a bakery, when Carmen Miranda became
the guiding star of his life. The 1930s’ film star inspired Laéssio’s then-boyfriend to become a cabaret singer and Laéssio himself to become a thief. Brazil’s most famous book thief began his career hunting down old magazines with Carmen on the cover. Later, he expanded his repertoire to rare books and maps.

Letters to a Book Thief is a story of a documentary director wanting to tell Laéssio’s story, the many twists and turns of Carlos Juliano Barros’s film project and, naturally, Laéssio himself. Barros follows the highs and lows of Laéssio’s career, his ingenious archive thefts took him to prison four times during production.

Laéssio’s story highlights both the thief’s ego – he repeatedly states to having done everything to stand out from the mass – and the low appreciation of Brazil’s national treasures. One archive director even credits the dexterous book thief with finally getting museums to invest in security.

Sari Selander (Translation: Liina Härkönen)

Language: Portuguese
Subtitles: English

Q&A with Caio Cavechini (director) on Tuesday 29.01. at 21:00 in Kinopalatsi 7 and Thursday 31.01. at 15:30 at Kiasma

  • Name in Original Language: Cartas para um ladrão de livros
  • Director: Caio Cavechini, Carlos Juliano Barros
  • Country: Brazil
  • Year: 2017
  • Length: 96 min
  • Age limit: K12
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Caue Angeli
  • Editing: Caio Cavechini
  • Music: Pedro Penna
  • Production: Gustavo Mello / Boutique Filmes, Globo Filmes, Globo News


  • Kinopalatsi 7: Tue 29.1. at 21.00
  • Kiasma-teatteri: Thu 31.1. at 15.30
  • Kinopalatsi 8: Sat 2.2. at 18.15