Director Jem Cohen told audiences in Moscow that his latest film, Museum Hours, was born on the set after his latest work was screened on Oct. 20 in the competition programme of the 2-in-1 film festival.
The actors in his mediative film knew nothing before the process started as a fixed scenario was non-existent at that time, he confessed. “Things happened in the course of making film that affected me and I wanted to incorporate them into the film.”
“The world that we live in becomes increasingly frantic, high-speed in a way, kind of low attention span, and we are all always looking at our little machines. It’s very nice for me that I can take prisoners for an hour and a half or two hours and give everybody time away from the speed of the world.”
Cohen said that the art and world are constantly in conversation, and in some respects mirror each other. “Some interesting art appreciates some of the more peripheral aspects of the world,” he said. “And art can be a way of reawakening these things”.
Art is something that doesn’t really change with time, according to the director. “If you look at Egyptian art, or art from Africa, or early art - a lot of that is extremely abstract and extremely modern in its ability to carry expression,” he said. “And of course it’s no accident that Pablo Picasso and the most radical avant-garde artists were inspired by the art of Africa, for example.”
The director also said he liked Moscow, which, like other big cities reminds him of a maze, like all other big cities. “It’s the greatest tradition of the city is to be a kind of a labyrinth, and everyone should get lost, even if you live here. I get lost in New York all the time. And the best way to rediscover things is to go the wrong way”.