"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."