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Johann (Bobby Sommer) is a middle-aged guard at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, where he’s worked for six years and finds the job “not bad at all.”

Anne (singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara) is a Canadian tourist who seems at loose ends in the city. Johann notices that she’s spending a lot of time in the museum looking at one of his favorite paintings, Pieter Bruegel’s “The Peasant Wedding.”

Eventually they become acquaintances and then friends. He needs something to relieve him of the occasional tedium of his work. She needs someone to help her through the dying days of a distant cousin in an Austrian hospital.

In the process, they explore the city, encounter a gang of rowdy school kids, discuss their favorite heavy-metal bands — and “Museum Hours” becomes an enthralling and sometimes droll meditation on life, art and mortality, not to mention Internet porn and its influence on modern art.

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The Afghan-born writer-director Jem Cohen is best-known for a series of shorts and videos and the 2006 anti-war concert documentary “Building a Broken Mousetrap.” He’s clearly a talent to watch.

John Hartl:

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