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(USA, 2017, Kogonada, 100 mins)
A delicate coming of age story set in the small and unlikely Midwestern ‘Modernist Mecca’ of Columbus, Indiana. In celebrated video essayist and film critic Kogonada’s acclaimed debut feature, local girl Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) – an ‘architecture nerd’ at a personal crossroads – meets visitor Jin (John Cho) – a translator estranged from his dying architect father. Burdened by the future, they seek respite in both each another and the architecture that surrounds them.
“How do you make a ravishing romance about architecture? You'll find the answer with Kogonada, whose debut feature, Columbus, is a spellbinder.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
As Casey and Jin take in buildings by Eero Saarinen, I. M. Pei, Robert A.M. Stern and Deborah Berke, Kogonada’s meticulous compositional eye – refined through previous visual essays on Yasujir? Ozu’s passages or Stanley Kubrik’s use of perspective – creates a film of formal equivalence to the stately mid-century masterworks it engages as its backdrop and co-protagonists. In so doing, the film’s cinematography, characters and remarkable architectural setting enter into an intimate dialogue, finding conflicts between roots and ambition, dreams and responsibilities, mirrored in both the film’s protagonists and Columbus’ living museum of 20th century Modern architecture.
Kogonada takes us on a guided emotional and architectural tour; a journey encompassing the implications of learning to see. A film of psychological and aesthetic sensitivity, full of visual and metaphorical symmetries, engaging stunning cinema, remarkable design and delicate storytelling to negotiate the meeting of form and feeling.