The movie that helped launch a whole new audience — and generous extra national publicity — for the city’s celebrated Modernist architecture returns to YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St. in downtown Columbus on Friday.
“Columbus,” director Kogonada’s feature film debut with the local architecture as a main character of sorts, is marking its fifth anniversary since its sold-out premiere here Sept. 1, 2017. The artsy director and his stars, John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, who have since gone on to bigger stardom, made red-carpet appearances and answered audience members questions during a session that night.
Afterward, Richardson, unaware that locals quickly had grown to love her and Cho’s down-to-earth ways off the set during the August 2016 filming, acknowledged that she was positively terrified that the local audience would hate her role as Casey, an architecture nerd caring for her addicted and ailing mother.
Cho played a book editor stuck in Columbus when his architecture professor father collapses before a speaking engagement and is being treated while seriously ill at the local hospital.
The film, which earned praise from critics ranging from The New York Times to The Hollywood Reporter (“an art-house treat”), eventually sold 8,953 tickets in a six-week run at YES, making it by far the most popular movie ever shown at the venue in its 28-year history. This marks its second local return, since YES celebrated the one-year anniversary with a series of showings with 15 minutes of deleted scenes.
The film earned a 97 percent fresh rating from critics on the popular rottentomatoes.com film site.
“I think the popularity (at YES) is because the star of the movie is Columbus itself,” said Randy Allman, executive director of nonprofit Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, which operates the cinema and conference center. “Now, of course, I understand that there are people here who love action movies, and this isn’t quite their genre.”
The one hour, 40-minute movie is seen as considerably slow-moving and subtle — elements that kogonada, who also wrote the script after visiting here, said he specifically intended.
Allman said the film’s return is indeed partly to mark the fifth anniversary of the premiere.
“We have to remember that this was no small group of folks doing this movie,” said Allman, a long-time movie buff. “And the positive reviews were just the cherry on top.”
Allman remembered that, among the ticket buyers in that initial, record-breaking run, were residents from a wide range of other states, and from as far away as California, who wanted to see the film in its home setting.
“And we were among few theaters in Indiana who had permission to premiere the film,” he said.
How to get tickets
Check showtimes and more at yescinema.org,