In this charming debut a young librarian and an out-of-town visitor bond in Columbus, Indiana, their friendship blossoming out of conversations about life, relationships and the city’s exceptional modern architecture.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
“Allow writer and director Kogonada to take you on a bizarrely fascinating, visually stunning, and subtly sensual tour of Columbus, Indiana’s modernist architecture... Besides churches by Eero and Eliel Saarinen, libraries by I.M. Pei, and Will Miller’s enviable living room interior by Alexander Girard, the film centers on intersecting stories of familial responsibility. Jin (played with authority by John Cho) is a middle-aged man who should care that his father is dying in a hospital, but he doesn’t. Casey (played by Haley Lu Richardson, who turns in a phenomenally good, sophisticated performance) is a recent high-school grad who needs to cut the cord, but that’s complicated. The two shouldn’t like each other in any sort of romantic way, but that’s also complicated.
Kogonada includes all the troubles Indianans face – meth problems, having to work two manual-labor jobs to pay rent, racial tension – but he smartly builds it into the characters’ motivations and backstory.
Elisha Christian’s cinematography and Kogonada’s story reveal the deep relationship between architecture and people that many might miss.”— Rich Smith, The Stranger
“Kogonada films with a keen eye for architecture; he takes a pleasure comparable to Casey’s in sharp lines, sheer surfaces, and open vistas... Richardson... negotiates the fluently erudite and insightful dialogue with a dancer’s aplomb; Columbus is one of the rare films in which nerdy intelligence –knowledge without experience– comes off without neurosis, comedic awkwardness, or vengeance.”—Richard Brody, New Yorker