What they’re saying about the film ‘Columbus’

Filmed last summer during a three-week period from July 31 to Aug. 20 at 16 buildings in downtown Columbus, the artsy “Columbus” film was the first for a Nashville, Tennessee, director who goes by the single name of Kogonada.The film “Columbus” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday.

Director Kogonada filmed the movie last summer in Columbus.

A contingent of Columbus officials attended, and we’re writing about that in Thursday’s Republic. In the meantime, the film is creating some national buzz. Here’s what’s being said:

Jordan Hoffman of Vanity Fair

Columbus, a remarkable first film from new and exciting director Kogonada, is an architecture appreciation symposium grafted onto the skeleton of a fairly typical Sundance drama. The result, while not exactly action packed, is a clever and compelling exploration into how physical structures can come to represent emotional landmarks in our personal lives, and the drive we have to share them with others.

And …

Here’s something you may not know about Columbus, Indiana. Despite being a small midwestern berg, it has one of the largest concentration of modernist structures anywhere, including buildings from powerhouse architects like Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei and James Polshek. As such, famous architects and critics periodically come by to lecture, as was the plan for a Korean notable who collapses in the first scene of the movie. Was it the beauty of seeing the interior of the Miller House that did it, or was it just the need to set this indie story’s gears in motion?

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Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times

And now for something completely different, a pleasantly eccentric film that’s the feature debut of visual artist Kogonada. Set in “the Athens of the Prairie,” Columbus, Ind., the unlikely site of a trove of modern architecture, its impeccably composed shots of stunning buildings are as much of a lure as its deliberately paced story.

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David Ehrlich of IndieWire

A midwestern town to its core, Columbus is graced with architecture by neofuturist Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei protege James Stewart Polshek. The results are structures that are both beautiful and invisible: They’re massive pieces of art, but people regularly pass by or enter them without noticing. And if you look deeply at them, they morph into marvels of negative space. That reveals how nothingness blots out so much of what there is to experience in our world, a distinctly non-Western concept.

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Vadim Rizov of Filmmaker magazine

I don’t think there’s a bad shot in the film, and not in a facilely “beautiful” way. There’s thoughtful technical work throughout: an otherwise unexceptional dialogue between Casey and coworker Gabriel (Rory Culkin) is preceded by a shot of a dude watering plants while listening to thumping electronica. Both sounds are retained after the dialogue starts, adding texture and dimension to a potentially sonically dry exchange.

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