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Museum Hours [Blu-ray] [Import]

 Unrated   Blu-ray

List Price: CDN$ 37.51
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Product Details

  • Format: DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, German
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • Release Date: Dec 10 2013
  • ASIN: B00EPFMS6K

Product Description

When a Vienna museum guard befriends an adrift out-of-town 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. BONUS FEATURES: - Rare Short Films by Jem Cohen Amber City (48:00, 1999, 16mm film) Anne Truitt, Working (13:00, 2009, 16mm film) Museum (Visiting the Unknown Man) (8:00, 1997, Super 8 film) - Alternate English Voice Over Track - Theatrical Trailer - Festival Trailer - Plus: 20-page booklet featuring essays by Luc Sante and Jem Cohen "Four Stars! An exhilarating journey through art and life." --Washington Post "Rapturous. A film of such intelligence and originality that radical seems the only accurate word." --Village Voice "Exquisitely photographed." --LA Times


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... "Now I have my share of quiet" Aug. 26 2013
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Museum Hours" (2012 release; 107 min.) brings the story of Anna, a woman in Montreal who gets a call out of the blue that her cousin Janet in Vienna is in serious condition in a hospital in Vienna. Anna takes off for Vienna. Meanwhile, we get to know Johan, a guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna who passes his days observing the visitors and rediscovering the beautiful paintings in the museum's collection. Comments Johan: "In my young days, I was a tour manager for a band. Then I had my share of loudness. Now I have my share of quiet". When Anna arrives in Vienna, she is easily lost and by happenstance comes into the museum where she gets to know Johan. Anna and Johan strike up a friendship. To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is one of those movies where the scenery itself is a major character, and yes a star, in the movie. There are tons of beautiful shots of Vienna, but even more so, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is in the leading role for this movie. At one point, about half way into the movie, we get to know one of the curators of the Bruegel room, and we get an insight as never before on several of Bruegel's more famous paintings, including The Wedding of the Peasants and The Conversion of St. Paul. So if it wasn't clear by now: if you are not really into art (paintings, in particular) and museums, save yourself the trouble (and money), and go see another movie. Second, the performances of the lead actors Mary Margaret O'Hara in the role of Anna, and Bobby Sommer in the role of Johan, are nothing short of outstanding. In particular O'Hara brings a couple of heartbreaking scenes, when she sings a couple of songs a cappella (when the credits roll at the end, it turns out that she wrote those songs, "Never No" and "Dark, Dear Heart", herself). Last but not least, kudos to writer-director Jem Cohen for pulling off this little gem of a movie.

I saw this movie just this past weekend at the Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles, and the screening I saw this at was quite well attended for a matinee, which is great news. "Museum Hours" is about as far away as can be from Hollywood's "A Night At the Museum" franchise, and that's just fine, as there is room for everyone. That said, if you are in the mood for an extraordinary and top notch foreign movie about the everyday lives of ordinary people set in the exquisite environment that is Vienna, you cannot go wrong with this movie. "Museum Hours" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly original cinema Oct. 13 2013
By Mr. J. L. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this little masterpiece immediately upon its UK release early last month - at an exceptionally well attended matinee screening at the Cornerhouse, Manchester. As the previous reviewers have stated, the film dwells a great deal on some of the paintings housed at the Museum of Art History in Vienna...especially those of Peter Breugel the Elder. Immediately we are bewitched by their sense of mystery - and all the possible meanings that the passage of the intervening centuries has hidden from us. But we are also taken on a voyage of exploration - through the magnificent gallery, through the bleak but beautiful winter cityscape and through the layers of Vienna's own fascinating history. The chance meeting that leads to a touching friendship between the room guide and the visitor provides us with further insights into the very things that must have preoccupied those early painters - the joy of living, mortality and the transience of things.

I saw this movie on the Saturday. On the Monday I was on the plane to Vienna - and by the Tuesday morning I was experiencing the Museum of Art History for myself. Can any film have a higher recommendation than that?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Reflection on the Relationship Between Art and Life Dec 14 2013
By Dr. Laurence Raw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Nothing much happens in MUSEUM HOURS in terms of plot: the action focuses on the experiences of a guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Bobby Sommer), as he observes the different types of visitor and reflects on the exhibits in the art gallery. He has a chance encounter with Anne (Mary Margaret O'Hara), a Canadian visitor who has come to see her sick relative in Vienna; and together they visit different parts of Vienna, as well as making regular visits to the hospital. Filmed on a minuscule budget. Jem Cohen's film reflects on the relationship between art and film, concentrating in particular on how (and whether) paintings by the Old Masters 'speak' to different types of viewer. Through brilliant use of visual compositions, Cohen shows how the daily rituals of Viennese life bear a strong similarity to those compositions portrayed in the paintings (for example, the work of Brueghel). This is designed to prove how the artists drew their inspiration from life, as well as their imagination. Other sequences are quasi-surrealistic - at one point we see three visitors to the museum who are naked, adopting poses very similar to those represented in the paintings. This technique emphasizes the importance of the imagination in the way we look at paintings. The relationship between art and life is reinforced by Johann's voiceover, as he reflects on the paintings, the visitors, and his reactions to both at any given moment. Beautifully shot (by Cohen and Peter Roehsler) in muted colors on a series of winter days, MUSEUM HOURS is a masterpiece of cinema, reflecting on the viewer's relationship to visual objects.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beauty & mystery of the smallest moments April 23 2014
By William Timothy Lukeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is one of the most beautiful, haunting, meaningful films I've seen in a long time. There's no real plot, no real narrative, no real drama ... so much so that many call it boring, tedious, and complain that nothing happens. Yet they're missing one of its central points: the Nothing that happens is actually Something. In its simple, single thread of story, the museum guard Johan befriends the Canadian woman Anne, who's come to Vienna to be with a cousin who's fallen into a coma. Anne has little money, and Johan not only shows her the city in a way that doesn't need a lot of money, but shows her empathy & subtle human connection. Movie conventions would have us expect a typical romance to follow; but this film is far wiser than that.

In truth, the film is more of a meditation, even a tone poem, on art & life. Each fleeting image takes on the aspect of a painting, rich & brimming with possibilities, not unlike the masterpieces in the museum. And those masterpieces are shown to be filled with possibilities themselves, always open to new interpretations & revelations, rather than being dead & static. The viewer is invited to pause & really look at the world, down to its most (seemingly) mundane details, to see the beauty & mystery that hovers over every moment of existence.

For example, when Johan asks Anne if she saw anything interesting earlier in the day, she tells him of seeing a flock of pigeons at the bottom on a concrete embankment, scattered on the ground "like pepper" -- and how they suddenly flew up in a perfect arc into the sky. It's something any of us might see any day, without noticing it in the least. But how many of us would really look at it & truly SEE it, in all its wonder & grace?

What strikes me in particular is the lack of conflict, deemed so essential for any story today. Johan senses the loneliness of a fellow human being & responds to it, simply because he's a decent human being. He has no hidden agenda, no terrible inner secret driving him to help. He & Anne are just two human beings who have lived long enough, with enough sensitivity, to have been bruised without being broken, who can look at the world around them with more compassion than regret or resentment. They have genuine wisdom, a wry, rueful, but certainly not defeated view of life, one that enables them to decline from passing judgment on others as an unthinking reflex. They observe, they reflect, they laugh, they share their common humanity. Everything is understated, which somehow makes for a more complex & mature emotional response from the viewer.

In short, this is a reminder of what a civilized life is supposed to be, something that's sorely lacking in much of today's fast-paced, profit-driven, terribly superficial world. As such, it won't appeal to every viewer; but for those who value a life that goes deeper than the latest trends & fads, this is essential viewing -- most highly recommended!

Note: the DVD includes three short films by the same director, each of which is a meditation on art & life in its own way. The addition of these films reveal the sensibilities & vision of the director, and makes me want to see more of his work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great museum and and a great deal more May 26 2014
By jon eric nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours is another hybrid fiction/documentary film. A middle age American woman, Anne, has been summoned to Vienna because her name was found in the address book of a cousin who lies comatose in a hospital there. She has never been to Vienna before, doesn’t speak the language, and has little money. She meets Johan, a middle age museum guard at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and he becomes her interpreter, tour guide and friend. On one level the movie is the fairly simple but touching story of their evolving relationship. Will romance blossom? Alas, no. Johan is gay and Anne, though single, must return to America. Their relationship, with its thoughtful conversations, is the fictional part of the movie.

The film, however, is about much more than these two people, endearing though they are. We also get to know the museum in which they spend much of their time. We inhabit for a while a richly photographed world and ponder, as Anne and Johan do, a range of subjects: cities, art, time, sight, museums, property, collective memory, the flux of objects, transience, maturity….Have I left out anything? Oh, yes. Brueghel and the room in the Kunsthistorisches Museum that contains many of his masterpieces: Peasant Wedding, Children’s Games, The Conversion of Paul, The Fight Between Carnival and Lent. Because Johan is our guide as well as Anne’s our introduction to Brueghel and the museum and the imperial city that contains them is relaxed and intimate, much more personal than a conventional documentary would be. Jem Cohen’s camera eye – probing, playful, wise – becomes our eye.

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