Museum Hours

Museum Hours
  • 2012
  • Austria / US
  • 1h 47min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Jem Cohen
  • Written by: Jem Cohen
  • Cast: Mary Margaret O'Hara, Bobby Sommer, Ela Piplits
  • UK release: 6 September 2013

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

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Winner of the Art Cinema Award at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival, the latest film from acclaimed film-essayist Jem Cohen is at once a poignant character study, a glorious city symphony and an insightful meditation on art. When Johann, an attendant at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, meets enigmatic Anne, a Canadian visiting her ill cousin in hospital, the two form a rejuvenating bond. Johann acts as Anne’s guide to Vienna, sharing his knowledge of its art and architecture, seeing the city afresh as he does so. Non-professional actors Mary Margaret O’Hara and Bobby Sommer bring a naturalness and spontaneity to their roles while the striking imagery includes sumptuous close-ups of Bruegel the Elder’s peasant landscapes. Full of charm, intelligence and dry humour.

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Reviews & features

Museum Hours

5 Sep 20134 stars

A leisurely, slender, trance-like depiction of a developing platonic relationship

In conventional terms not a lot appears to happen in this leisurely feature from experimental American filmmaker Jem Cohen. The softly-spoken, reflective narrator Johann (Bobby Sommer) is a middle-aged attendant at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum…

Autumn film preview 2013: arthouse highlights

30 Aug 2013

The Selfish Giant and Museum Hours among our hotly-tipped upcoming arthouse highlights

‘A huge mass of interlocked facts, characters and anecdotes, all gravitating around Rome’, is how Italian maestro Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo) has described his magnificent cinematic spectacle The Great Beauty (Fri 6 Sep). Toni Servillo’s ennui-laden…

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