People come from all over to peer at the priceless collection in the gilded surroundings of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. This ruminative drama-doc hybrid suggests that our curiosity needn’t begin and end with the paintings. Gallery attendant Johann observes visitors and artworks everyday, exceeding his job description to help out Janet, a frazzled Canadian who’s in town to visit a hospitalised relative. Their walks and talks progress from tour-guide territory to the sharing of middle-aged vulnerabilities. Scripted dialogue draws on the performers’ own histories (he’s an ex-punk, now working for the Viennale art festival, she’s the cult chanteuse Mary Margaret O’Hara), while the tantalising blurring of private and public spaces create an ingratiating intimacy in tune with director Jem Cohen’s engaging mix’n’match approach. Taking in everything from lectures on democratisation in Brueghel to on-the-hoof backstreet footage of another Vienna, the film’s arguably rather too leisurely. But its encouragement to let ourselves be captivated by everyday humanity as well as the old masters is both richly illuminating and quirkily endearing. Time well spent.
|Release date:||Friday September 6 2013|
Cast and crew
Mary Margaret O'Hara