Museum Hours

“..Really, and fortunately, a museum is no different from anywhere else, since beauty and meaning are everywhere, provided we know how to look. MUSEUM HOURS, Jem Cohen’s quietly amazing, sneakily sublime new film, is partly a reflection on such aesthetic puzzles. Shot in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the film lingers over great paintings by Rembrandt, Bruegel and other European masters, inviting us to contemplate the complex, half-obscured tales they might tell….The museum is also the setting for a contemporary story of cross-cultural friendship. Johann, an Austrian man in his 60s who once worked as a road manager for hard-rock bands, now makes his living as a security guard at the museum. In the course of his duties, Johann meets Anne, a Canadian woman who has come to Vienna to sit at the bedside of a cousin who is in a coma at a local hospital. Together they visit some of Vienna’s famous sites and also some of its workaday cafes and bars. They drink beer, talk about their lives and develop a connection that, while apparently not sexual (Johann is gay), is nonetheless deeply romantic…. This movie is rigorously and intensely lifelike, which is to say that it’s also a strange and moving work of art”—A.O. Scott, N.Y. Times. In English and in German with English subtitles. Unrated. 106 Min.

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