“Effectively, that’s Columbus—meth and modernism,” quips 19-year-outdated protagonist Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), in the brand new impartial movie Columbus. Directed by Kogonada, the film facilities on Columbus, Indiana, a lot in order that town and its architecture capabilities as a personality equal to the actors (and naturally, lending itself to the movie’s title). In context, her comment isn’t a flippant dismissal of the city however a mirrored image of bigger points Kogonado contemplates in his work.
“Do types make a distinction? Do buildings make our lives higher even when they're unhealthy?” This can be a significantly apt query to ask in a metropolis like Columbus, which, though identified for its architecture, isn't precisely often called a cultural hotspot.
It's uncommon that architecture options so closely in what's in any other case a intelligent coming-of-age story, however even the plot emerged from town’s buildings. Kogonada was impressed by visiting the southern Indiana metropolis and wrote the script primarily based on his observations. “The Metropolis of Columbus needed to give us permission to movie there, or else we wouldn’t have made the movie,” Kogonada mentioned in a dialogue following a screening at BAM.
Scenes middle on, round, and in the hovering modernist works by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Deborah Berke, as Casey quickly positive aspects aesthetic consciousness and an appreciation for architecture as she grapples with staying in her hometown and taking good care of her mom (a recovering meth addict) whereas her buddies go off to school. She encounters Jin (John Cho), a Korean-American translator who involves town to take care of his father, a famous architectural historian who falls critically ailing whereas visiting Columbus; the pair kind a relationship. The plot itself is charming and sensible, however it's the movie’s pacing, styling, and setting that elevate it to what the New Yorker has described as “precocious genius.”
Kogonada incorporates the architecture each blatantly and subtly. All through, Casey names and describes every constructing to Jin, a newcomer to Columbus—Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, I.M. Pei’s Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, Eero Saarinen’s Miller home, the Irwin Convention Heart, and North Christian Church, Deborah Berke’s Irwin Union Financial institution, and Robert A.M. Stern’s Columbus Regional Hospital, amongst others. These constructions not explicitly labeled nonetheless loom prominently in the setting.
Architectural themes additionally permeate the movie, most notably the exploration of absence and presence, void and quantity. Kogonada explores this a number of alternative ways: Each time music performs, there may be an absence of dialogue; when Jin speaks Korean, there may be an absence of subtitles; characters discuss with plot moments that by no means got here up; and at instances there may be silence despite the fact that the viewers can see that the particular person is talking.
Different questions are grappled with, as properly: “Can architecture heal?” “Do the buildings we develop up round inform our views of the world?” “What makes modernism necessary?” They're good questions and ones that the architectural, artwork, and design communities debate usually, however in Columbus they're opened as much as the layperson and architecture aficionado alike.
For screenings and extra info, see the movie’s website.