The Great Museum

Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum is the subject of "Das Große Museum" (English captions), a documentary directed by Johannes Holzhausen which grants us access to preservationists, directors, curators, and the general staff, during the year it takes to renovate this baroque treasure.

Winner of the Caligari Film Prize from the Berlin Film Festival 2014, we are treated to what should have been fascinating on-site interviews; instead this was a major snooze. It started with a workman taking a pickax to an ancient floor and another using a paint scraper to remove old wallpaper. Then we moved to bureaucratic minutiae.

We heard budget meetings, spent long minutes with a soon-to-be retired fellow lovingly turning the pages of a book he is plans to pack, watched two women move four pictures endlessly until they finally settled on three. We heard one fellow spend waaaay too much time worrying whether or not the "3" in the proposed poster was "too aggressive," while one woman made an impassioned plea for her department to be introduced around at the next Christmas party. We saw restorations that could have been interesting if the people had only told us what they were doing and a little bit about the object.

All that kept going through my head was, "So THIS is what Art History majors do after they graduate!" This was a sad waste of money for the Arts. In my opinion, an opportunity like this will not come again in my lifetime. Shame on them!