"The buildings rise up out of the grass and trees like relics of a mysterious more sophisticated civilization. They are abstract, startling, sometimes anti-gravitational. They are not monuments. They were built for utilitarian purposes: banks, offices, a church, a library, a hospital. These geometric Modernist buildings pepper the landscape of the "
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"There’s an old saying, often attributed to Martin Mull, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” In many ways first-time writer/director Kogonada’s “Columbus” treats architecture like music, as its protagonists write, talk, bicker, and dance about an extraordinary collection of modernist structures in the unassuming Midwest town of Columbus, Ind. The hypnotically paced drama carried by the serendipitous odd-couple pairing of John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson is lovely and tender, marking Kogonada as an auteur to watch. A film critic and video essayist with evident affection for the work of Asian masters ranging from Yasujirō Ozu to Hirokazu Koreeda, the mono-monikered director examines the relationships between his characters and their environment with an architect’s attention to detail. That he also trains his lens on a place and people rarely explored on film, and provides a quintet of terrific performers with the opportunity to stretch and showcase their skills, only adds to his debut’s unique appeal."
"The landscape of American independent filmmaking is shifting as the generation that revitalized the movement in the past decade has begun to take its place in the larger industry. As a result, a new generation of filmmakers is working in a field that’s wide open for creative innovation, advancing without their predecessors’ shared artistic ideas. The stylistic diversity of these new films is on view in this year’s edition of BAMcinemaFest—New York’s leading independent-film series, running June 14-25. One film being shown there, “Columbus,” is the first feature directed by Kogonada, who makes distinctive artistic use of classical styles and of popular actors who are at home in them. “Columbus” gets its title from the city where it’s set—Columbus, Indiana, home to a remarkable collection of renowned works of modern architecture, including several designed by Eero Saarinen. (It’s an apt subject for Kogonada, a visual artist who’s also justly acclaimed for his video essays.) Those buildings provide an extraordinary premise for the drama, which is a visionary transformation of a familiar genre: a young adult’s coming-of-age story. For once, that trope doesn’t involve a sexual awakening or a family revelation; it’s the tale of an intellectual blossoming, thanks to a new friendship that arises amid troubled circumstances."