6.9/10
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Museum Hours (2012)

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When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads that sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways in which works of art reflect and shape the world.

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2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Margaret O'Hara ...
Anne
Bobby Sommer ...
Johann
Ela Piplits ...
Gerda - Visiting Lecturer
Marcus O'Hara ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Deborah Gzesh ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Marco Calamita ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Nina Calamita ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Sigrid Mölg ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Evelyne Egerer ...
Bruegel Tour Group
Gerda Hartl ...
Museum Visitor
Ivo Hunek ...
Museum Visitor
Anna Maria Innerhofer ...
Museum Visitor
Anna Nowak ...
Museum Visitor
Michaela Buchegger ...
Museum Visitor
Hellmut Goebl ...
Museum Visitor
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Storyline

In the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, Johann is a security guard who finds a special quiet magic there. One day, a Canadian woman arrives to visit to the city, and the two strike up a friendship through their appreciation of art. That relationship helps put all the other goings-on at the museum and in the city in perspective, as Johann observes and participates in them in a world where art can say so much more than a casual visitor might know. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

6 September 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Godziny otwarcia  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$29,435 (USA) (28 June 2013)

Gross:

$83,725 (USA) (5 July 2013)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Johann: And I also play poker, sometimes at the café, but even more often online.
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Connections

Featured in The 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Dark, Dear Heart
Written and Performed by Mary Margaret O'Hara
Yet Courier Music
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User Reviews

 
A unique departure from standard filmmaking
26 September 2014 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Museum Hours (2012) is a unique film, written and directed by Jem Cohen. One of the stars, Mary Margaret O'Hara added "additional dialogue."

Although I described this movie as "a unique departure from standard filmmaking," it does have a plot. The plot is conventional enough. Mary Margaret O'Hara plays Anne, a middle-aged Canadian woman who isn't exactly poor, but has to borrow the money to travel from Montreal to Vienna to be with her desperately sick cousin, who is hospitalized.

Bobby Sommer plays Johann, a guard at the famous Kunsthistoriches Museum. They meet and interact, and become friends. (No romance--Johann lets Clara, and us, know that he's gay.) They see each other in the museum, they go out for dinner, and sometimes they act like tourists. It sounds conventional enough, but it isn't.

It isn't conventional because Jem Cohen doesn't really believe in narrative. He's a documentary filmmaker, but he doesn't exactly create the documentary. He goes somewhere, shoots a lot of video, and then fashions that into a documentary. I haven't seen any of his documentaries, but watching "Museum Hours" makes it fairly clear what they'd look like. That's because, every so often, Cohen swerves from his narrative, and shows us streets in Vienna, trains, churches, stores, statues. This isn't the tourists' Vienna, but Cohen doesn't just show us grime and degradation either. We start to get a sense of what this large city looks like. (Also, a sense of the Kunsthistoriches Museum, where my wife and I spent seven hours, and could have spent more. It has a great collection.)

This is somewhat unusual filmmaking, but it gets more unusual. Cohen devotes 11 minutes to a (staged) docent presentation by a woman named Gerda. The role is played by an actor name Ela Piplets. She's called a "Visiting Lecturer" because the museum didn't want anyone to think that she was really a museum employee. Gerda discusses some of the museum's many paintings done by Pieter Breughel the Elder. It's a really great lecture. What makes it more amazing is that Piplets doesn't speak English! Can you imagine giving a long lecture, in barely accented English, when you're doing it by rote memory?

We saw this film at the wonderful Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. Jem Cohen was present, and it's obvious by listening to him that he's going to make films his way, whether he gets rewarded for it or not. He's a very unusual person.

This film will work well enough on the small screen, but it's probably better to see it in a theater. It's really great to see it with the filmmaker present to answer questions. In any event, this movie is worth seeking out and viewing. How often do you see a narrative film (well, sort of) made by a director who doesn't like narrative filmmaking? This is that film.

Note: Cineaste reviewed this film in its Summer 2014 magazine. There's some excellent information about this movie on pages 66 and 67.


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