Synopsis: “The Museum” is a film that seeks to explore the Israeli soul through the galleries, storerooms and visitors of the Israel Museum, Israel’s most important cultural institution.
This is a documentary puzzle, simultaneously intriguing and amusing, which attempts to define the unique essence of the museum within the exceptional geographical, historical and political context in which it functions.
With a trenchant, ironic eye the film follows the visitors, observes the observers, listens to the speakers and descends to the storerooms, labs and conference rooms. The American museum director, the singing security guard, the Jerusalemite curator, the Haredi kashrut inspector, the Palestinian guide and the blind visitor are just a few of the characters that take part in a chain of activities which add up to the museum.
The fears, the nightmares, the endless sense of sacrifice which is such a powerful part of the Israeli and Jewish experience are reflected in the museum’s daily existence. From slavery in Pharaonic Egypt through Emperor Hadrian of Rome to Nazism, they’re all here with us, all the time, molding the present as if they were living among us here and now.
For about 18 months director Ran Tal collected footage of the museum’s daily routine, assembling it into a cinematic collage – observant, sensitive and breathtakingly beautiful.