De Mantra van de Dief

The Mantra of the Thief follows Jasper, a compulsive thief who aspires to ultimate freedom and invisibility. Jasper keeps a mental diary, turning his thoughts on theft into a daily mantra. He lives a solitary life, running a bar under his apartment and stealing for sport. His life changes when he steals from Rim, a choreographer, and falls in love. A mysterious future figure, representing an AI from a ‘metaverse,’ observes their evolving relationship, reflecting on Jasper’s digital footprint.

Rim, aware of the theft, uses Jasper as inspiration for her choreography. This creates a tense love triangle with her dance partner, Nzinga. Jasper is fascinated by Rim’s performance but troubled by her appropriation of his identity. When Rim suddenly disappears, Jasper is left searching for answers. It is eventually revealed that the future observer is an older Jasper, looking back to understand Rim’s departure, highlighting the enduring mystery of human connection.

The Mantra of the Thief is a hypermodern love tragedy exploring the impossibility of truly understanding another person, even in a future dominated by digital existence.

David Verbeek, known for his works like R U There (Cannes Un Certain Regard) and How to Describe a Cloud (IFFR), continues his exploration of complex human relationships and digital themes. His latest work, The Mantra of the Thief, maintains his signature style of blending personal narratives with broader societal issues.

The screenplay The Mantra of the Thief is now in development in collaboration with Conijn Film.


Original title
De Mantra van de Dief
Running time
– minutes
HD Video
Screen Ratio
Dutch and English
Dutch broadcaster
To Be Determined
Year of release
David Verbeek
Wout Conijn
Director of Photography
Jean Counet
Jeroen Les
Sound Recording
Taco Drijfhout
Sound Design
Phil Zacharias
Realized with support from
Film Fonds, FilmFonds Incentive, Square Eyes, Mokum Film, Flatland Gallery