One of Chicago's most elusive burglars comes out of the shadows for the first time, and Malik Bader and Miles Harrison are there to film him. Over the course of a year, the two documentarians follow the legendary burglar, who claimed his name was Kaspar Carr, as he taps phones, cases stores, and pulls off numerous burglaries. Carr certainly fits the profile. For starters, he is quick and unassuming, has a dirty mouth but an obsessively clean workspace, and he smokes constantly-even while breaking into a safe. But getting close to the real Carr proves to be more of a challenge than Bader and Harrison had anticipated. When the two directors innocently ask if he ever dreamt of another life, Carr shouts some colorful expletives before explaining, "You're here so people can see how things really go down, the two months before. You're not going to get a sob story from me." But as their relationship with the beguiling burglar deepens, so too does their involvement in the burglaries, and what started off as cinéma vérité quickly devolves into cinéma criminel. During his biggest score to date-a multiplex movie theater-Carr instructs the filmmakers to hide behind a sign for several hours before meeting him in front of a door with red tape on it. The robbery seemingly goes well, but Carr mysteriously disappears, and both the filmmakers and the audience struggle to put the pieces together and figure out what really went down. Borrowing from the traditions of film noir and cinéma vérité, Street Thief has created an exhilarating new genre.
Malik Bader was born in 1974 and credits his sense of urban realism to his time spent growing up on Chicago's South Side. Street Thief is his first feature film. Bader's prior work includes numerous short films and music videos that have screened at the New York Film and Video Festival, the Ramallah International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. His short Ground Chuck, co-produced with his brother Sam, was honored with a best-of-fest "special consideration" award at the 2002 IFP Market, after which the brothers started up their independent production company Bader Brothers Pictures in Chicago. The Bader brothers are currently location scouting in Israel and the West Bank for their next feature film, which will begin production in August 2006.