Over a few visits to the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, Jem Cohen‘s Museum Hours turns an unlikely friendship between a museum guard named Johan (Bobby Sommer) and a tourist named Anne (Canadian singer Mary Margaret O’Hara) into an exploration of life and art. One of Cohen’s previous works of art on art itself, Instrument, takes its title from the Fugazi song of the same name, and dates back to the early 1970s. The film resulted from Cohen’s friendship with the “post-hardcore” band’s own Ian MacKaye when the two were in high school in Washington, D.C.
Listen to Filmwax Radio: Jem Cohen
Cohen takes me back to the earliest days of his career in this chat, describing his years studying at Wesleyan University and eventually settling into New York City during the height of the punk scene. Additionally, Jem cites seminal French documentarian Chris Marker as a major influence in his career. Cohen’s Museum Hours will be included in Sundance Now’s Doc Club May Chris Marker retrospective (“Chris Marker and his Legacy”) which features not only many of the late filmmaker’s works, but also includes films influenced by Marker as well as films about him.