A curious, witty and humorous peek behind the scenes at a world-famous cultural institution, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.


Wed 18 February 2015, 19.30h, Rialto Amsterdam

Johannes Holzhausen
Austria | 2014 | 94 min

This award-winning documentary observes the various processes involved in creating a perfect setting for art: from the managing director to the cleaning services team, from the carriers to the art historians, the staff members at the museum are all interdependent cogs in the same machine.

Director Johannes Holzhausen spent more than two years gathering material in the period prior to the grand reopening of the famed museum’s Kunstkammer rooms.
The resulting film is more than a documentary dedicated to a public institution but a carefully observed and stunningly filmed portrait of the ‘secret life’ of a major cultural institution.

THE GREAT MUSEUM offers glimpses of the day-to-day routine at the museum, while revealing the micro-dramas faced by the museum employees. For example, a conservator who discovers that a Rubens painting has been painted over several times; an elderly head of a collection who is about to head into retirement; an art historian who experiences the thrill and frustration of an auction; or the never ending discussions about the design of the museum’s new logo. But Holzhausen’s film also addresses more profound issues: is it possible to reconcile the conservation of the objects with an up-to-date presentation? What part does art play in the representation of national identity in politics and tourism?

Berlinale 2014 Forum CALIGARI FILM PRIZE
Diagonale Festival 2014 Best Artistic Editing and Best Cinematography for a Documentary

“Wonderfully evocative and droll. […] As elegant as its subject. A jewel.” – Hollywood Reporter

“It offers us perspectives and insights that no normal visitor to the galleries would ever receive.” The Independent

ART AND CRAFT is also going to be screened in March in Breda (Chassé), Arnhem (Filmfocus), Haarlem (Filmschuur) and Leeuwarden (Slieker Film).

Cracking the Frame

A monthly program featuring an international selection of critically acclaimed arts documentaries and artists’ films.
Cracking the Frame focuses on the creative intersection between art and film through thought-provoking cinematic portraits of the life and work of established contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers and global thinkers.
Each film is theatrically unreleased in The Netherlands and will be screened in English or with English subtitles.

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