Museum Hours

2012

Drama

126
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1,987

Synopsis


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December 28, 2020

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
980.08 MB
1280*720
German 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
107 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.97 GB
1920×1080
German 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
107 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by howard.schumann 10 / 10 / 10

Bonds us to a world of stillness

"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.

Reviewed by michaeljayallen 9 / 10 / 10

Slow? That's what it's about.

I left the theater in a sort of observational trance, and vowed to get to the Metropolitan Museum ASAP and back to Vienna as soon as I can. I'll admit I'm kind of like the characters in the film. If you are a 13 year old boy whose favorite movie is The Transformers this might not be for you. Then again, you might learn something. There isn't much plot and there isn't much conflict but it isn't about plot or conflict. It's about art and life and to me it wasn't irritatingly slow at all and I wouldn't have cut a second. The pace and observational tone of the film are necessary to what it's about. The two nonactor main character actors do a wonderful job. They aren't called on to do a lot off complex stuff, and maybe they wouldn't cut it as Martha and George, but they are perfect here. The film has a lot to say about art and life, without being in any way didactic. The only part that I had the least impatience with was the scene with the somewhat annoying curator lecturing a group, although it did serve its purpose of making some points about the art while revealing a bit about the observers of art as well. There is also one scene that stands out in its sudden deviation from the flat observational realism of the rest of the film into a bit of symbolic surrealism but it's not without meaning either. Most of the film is about quiet introspective moments. One scene that isn't is of Johann and Anne joining in with patrons at the bar drinking and dancing to ethnic music on Immigrant Night. (Really, I think that's what they called it). Later, thinking about Breugel's Peasant Wedding...

Reviewed by GeneSiskel 9 / 10 / 10

We Are All Subjects in a Painting by Pieter Bruegel

This is a mostly plot less, mostly reflective, semi-serious, semi-whimsical movie with the tone of a PBS documentary. It is a lot like a landscape painting. It will work best for photographers, lovers of photography and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, museum goers who routinely rent audio guides, and anyone else predisposed to view the condition of humans in the 21st century as alternately harsh and exuberant (or punctuated by esthetic surprises), hemmed in by the state, and leading inevitably to the grave. Have a good life. A woman from Montreal, in Vienna to visit a hospitalized childhood friend, meets a taciturn guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and together they take in the city and its inhabitants, which together become a reflection of the art housed in the museum. "Museum Hours" is a bit ponderous at times but rarely slow.

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