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The Museum is a film that observes, examines and ponders Israel's most important cultural institution, the Israel Museum. The film follows the visitors, observes the observers, listens to the speakers and descends to the storerooms, labs and conference rooms. The American museum director, the singing security guard, the Jerusalemite curator, the Haredi kashrut inspector, the Palestinian guide and the visitor who lost her vision are some of the characters that take part in a chain of activities which add up to the museum. For about 18 months director Ran Tal collected footage of the daily routine of the museum that seeks to both reflect and mold the Israeli legacy and culture.Written by
The Jerusalem Film Festival
Pretty good documentary that could have been great
The Museum is an Israeli film directed by Ran Tal. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is a major institution. Director Tal clearly had access to every part of the museum, and he used his opportunity well. He shows us many aspects of the museum that we wouldn't otherwise see. The museum clearly is user-friendly. They even have special classes for the visually impaired.
If this movie had been made by Frederick Wiseman, it would have been wonderful. Director Tal uses Wiseman's style, but he doesn't have Wiseman's talent. Some scenes make no sense. Some talking heads are shown to us once with their title, but we never get reminded of their title throughout the film. So, if you learned who someone is in the beginning of the movie, you have to remember who she is an hour later.
I applaud director Tal's decision to avoid voiceovers, and to avoid appearing in the film, the way Michael Moore does. But, despite loving museums and wanting to like this movie, I found it to be OK, but not great.
We saw this film on the large screen at the excellent Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum. It was screened as part of the wonderful Rochester Jewish Film Festival. It will work well on DVD. The movie has a very high IMDb rating of 7.9. I don't think it's that good. However, if you love museums, you could do worse.
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