Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Museum Hours: Jem Cohen

Something of an oddity, the film tells of an attendant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna who befriends a Canadian woman who has come to Vienna  because she is the only relative of a cousin who is in a coma.   A leisurely piece which shows a number of the paintings in the Museum without comment as well as a series of disconnected shots of various parts of Vienna (very few of these of tourist sights) coupled with a measured commentary by the attendant about the visitors to the Museum, the film is, to quote the director, a sort of conversation with reference to the philosophy of Chris Marker and John Berger in particular.   The attendant is especially fond of the works of Brueghel and there is a quite extended sequence with a youngish art historian talking about some of the paintings in the room dedicated to his work.   A quiet, unassuming work with well rounded performances from the two leads though some sequences left me puzzled - after a boat trip though some underground caves, they learn that the cousin has died but the scene then moves to a party for immigrants in the attendant's local cafe which is followed by a brief discourse on a short of an old woman walking up a slope with a tall office or apartment building off to the left.   I went to this as I had hoped there would be more on the paintings than there was but, overall, an acceptable film.

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