At the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, a museum guard and a visiting out-of-towner find refuge in life, art, and each other, in Jem Cohen's painterly rumination on how art influences and echoes contemporary society.
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2012
One of the preeminent moving-image artists working today, Jem Cohen has long blurred the line between the gallery and the cinema, so it's only fitting that his uniquely pleasurable new documentary/fiction hybrid should do the same. Set largely within the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, Museum Hours focuses on Johann, a museum guard, and Anne, a visitor to the country who's in town tending to a sick friend. Finding refuge in the museum during her many hours alone in a strange city, Anne gradually befriends Johann. As they admire the paintings by the Old Masters that adorn the museum walls, the unlikely friends reflect on how artworks can infuse and shape their daily experiences — and perhaps even change their lives. Featuring marvellous performances by the two leads — non-professional actor Bobby Sommer and Toronto multidisciplinary artist and singer Mary Margaret O'Hara — Museum Hours is both a quietly charming human story and a moving rumination on the transformative power of art.