6.9/10
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22 user 83 critic

Museum Hours (2012)

Not Rated | | Drama | 6 September 2013 (UK)
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2:11 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Jem Cohen
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

A fresh way of seeing.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Austria | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

6 September 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Godziny otwarcia See more »

Filming Locations:

Vienna, Austria See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,435, 30 June 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$83,725, 7 July 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Stop the Projector
(Instrumental Version)
Written and Performed by Liz Durrett
Additional guitar'effects Guy Picciotto
Pub. by Neighbor Holds the Lamp, BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bonds us to a world of stillness
21 July 2013 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

"The real voyage of discovery lies in not seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes" - Marcel Proust

Jem Cohen's Museum Hours moves art beyond the confines of a stuffy museum and takes it out into the streets of Vienna where its profound observations make irrelevant the artificial distinction between art and life. Cohen widens our view of what is "inside" the museum to include what is "outside," not as a separate part of the experience but as an integrated whole. The film is narrated by Johann (Bobby Sommer), a soft-spoken museum guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna who, after spending his younger days traveling with rock bands, has worked at the museum for the past six years, getting to know each painting intimately. His favorite room is the Bruegel room where Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel's depictions of 16th century peasant life touch him most deeply.

Having just arrived from Montreal to visit her cousin who is in a coma, Anne (Mary Margaret O'Hara) seeks advice from Johann about directions to the hospital. As the two talk about the city, they develop a friendship and he acts as her tour guide, escorting her to visit ancient and modern sites in Vienna. As the experience opens him to a renewed appreciation of the city and its history, the camera focuses its attention on city life in a way that allows us to notice details that we may have never seen before: young boys on skateboards in the park, an old woman walking up a hill flanked by red cars, the walls of an ancient church, abandoned beer cans on the sidewalk, the faces of pedestrians huddled in the cold waiting for a bus, the boarded-up storefront of a store, and the give and take of bargaining at a local flea market.

Johann and Anne also spend time in the hospital where they talk to Anne's cousin who cannot hear them. Johann describes in details some of the paintings of Rembrandt from memory "all very dark and wise-looking," while Anne sings her a lovely ballad. The narrative of the woman and her cousin develops slowly but the film is not about the story, but about observation and our connection with the world. One of the film's highlights is the discussion of Bruegel by the tour guide (Ela Piplits) talking to a group of eager visitors. According to the guide, in a time of political repression carried out by the Duke of Alba, Bruegel's paintings were radical, "more radical than they might seem."

Dressing as a peasant to immerse himself in the culture of the poorer classes, Bruegel's depiction of the masses was not judgmental but focused on the small details of peasant life. As the director puts it, "This man (Breugel) took a very close, careful look at how working people, peasants lived and did it without a sentimental overlay, but with a respectful interest in the details of their lives." Another moving part of Johann's narration is his story about one of his coworkers, an art student who is no longer at the museum. As Johann tells us, the kid, whom he calls a "Marxist punk," ridiculed the idea of a museum, saying it is all about money and that the still lifes of famous artists are the equivalent of piles of Rolex watches, champagne bottles, and flat-screen TVs.

Though Johann obviously disagrees with this assessment, he does not put the student down, dismiss his objections, or find the need to offer a defense. Museum Hours is a riveting experience that bonds us to a world of stillness, beyond the limits of our sense perception. The film helps us to see with new eyes, enabling us to move towards a deeper, more truthful experience of ourselves and the world, one in which a young black boy in a hoodie is as rare and beautiful as a Rembrandt.


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