Museum Hours

"Quietly amazing, sneakily sublime. Mr. Cohen, a New York filmmaker and video artist with an eye for rough urban landscapes and eccentric artistic characters, is a patient observer and a cunning, subtle storyteller. 'Museum Hours' seems to wander and ruminate, collecting stray moments and fleeting impressions that gradually - and perhaps only in retrospect - snap together to reveal an intriguing pattern of emotion and significance. Watching the film is not really like looking at a painting, but the way the art historian looks at Bruegel has something in common with the way Mr. Cohen instructs us to pay attention to the world... This movie is rigorously and intensely lifelike, which is to say that it's also a strange and moving work of art." (A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES)

"In the new film 'Museum Hours,' something ordinary but special occurs: a traveler befriends a native. Arriving in Vienna to visit a distant relative who's in the hospital, an American woman strikes up a friendship with a guard at a venerable art museum. Getting directions leads to conversation, which leads to a drink or two, and discussions about life and the finer details of Bruegel the Elder and other artists. It's the sort of unexpected bond and solace found through art and communion that can happen every day but isn't often depicted. (Nic Rapold, THE NEW YORK TIMES - read the entire feature)

"The exceptional new film 'Museum Hours'... The looseness of its construction makes [it] a film of moments. Most of these seem self-contained, and many are rapturous... [Cohen] has made a film of such intelligence and originality that 'radical' seems the only accurate word." (Calum Marsh, VILLAGE VOICE)

"What matters as much as the mild, middle-aged friendship are the Old Masters on the walls of the gallery-notably Bruegel, whose paintings, hung together, form one of the great rooms of the world. The camera inspects them, often in closeup, always at leisure, and no one could begrudge the movie such tranquility. It finds the time to look at looking, and to offer a slow revelation: to the lonely and the stranded, it is art that feels like home." (Anthony Lane, THE NEW YORKER)

"'Museum Hours' has that same sort of impact, and while the story at its core is lovely, it's the delicate treatment of that story, and the deftness exhibited in incorporating a purposefully small narrative within an achingly expansive context, that makes the film a masterpiece." (Jesse Cataldo, SLANT)

"Must-sees include. Jem Cohen's serene and sui generis 'Museum Hours,' an account of human connections in and around Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum." (J. Hoberman, ARTINFO)

"The overall experience is invigoratingly heady and deeply moving-a trip to a foreign land that stirs your senses and your soul." (Keith Uhlich, TIME OUT NEW YORK)

"With practice, savvy festivalgoers learn how to strike a balance between high-profile selections and those that have little publicity and marketing muscle. Yet it's hard not to wish that the festival did more to push under-the-radar titles like Jem Cohen's MUSEUM HOURS into the foreground. A delicate, quiet, sometimes gravely moving symphony of Vienna, the movie traces two strangers – an American visitor and an Austrian museum guard – who become acquaintances over many conversations and through long, lonely walks captured by this filmmaker's gimlet eye. MUSEUM HOURS is sure to show up again either in other festivals or independent theaters." (NEW YORK TIMES)

"... Jem Cohen's MUSEUM HOURS which takes place in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Art Museum and engages in long, lovely takes of paintings by Brueghel, Rembrandt and others. With its picturesque reframing of what we consider art, and its re-contextualizing of time-honored masterpieces, MUSEUM HOURS accomplished what every film – and film festival – should: Send audiences out of their cinematic bubble with fresh eyes and invigorated ways of seeing the world around them." (WASHINGTON POST)

"At once intimate and expansive ... Cohen's overall strategy is deeply satisfying. He's got a marvelous eye for detail, not just in artwork but in the world around him ... bringing out what's notable in the everyday and ignored." (Jay Weissberg, VARIETY)

"Full of charm, intelligence and dry humour, it deserves to find a discerning theatrical audience beyond Cohen's usual festival- circuit following. At the heart of the film is an absorbing argument that dusty old artworks have plenty to tell us about contemporary life – especially about money, politics, power, social class and sex ... Cerebral stuff, but all delivered with warmth, wit and quiet confidence." (Stephen Dalton, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)