Columbus

Tonight I went to see Columbus at the Uptown. This was a beautiful, moving film and I loved it. With something like this that rises to the level of art, it's hard to say anything that isn't reductive, and much has already been well-said in reviews I've read, but I will note some random thoughts (spoiler alert):

  • Specifics make stories real, and the main characters are both unique individuals. How did the writer/director Kogonada even think of this storyline, and these people? It is too much like real life to be made up. And Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho were inspired casting choices, not to mention the other cast members (especially Rory Culkin). Far from being a fussy art movie attempting to say something profound about architecture or the human condition or whatever, the 'asymmetrical' close-up human specifics play out in contrast to (and in response to) the architectural geometry. John Cho's character even calls the aims of architecture into question, and in a brilliant parallel they visit a church.
  • The only danger the movie gets into is when it uses a kind of electronic mood music during a couple montage scenes. I felt it wasn't in keeping with the rest of the work, in that it represents to me a kind of lazy blurring of feeling which doesn't fit with the emotional threads the story susses out so clearly ...but of course I'm the kind of person who would notice the music like that. Call me hyper-sensitive.
  • I read somewhere that this film is like a mashup of "Before Sunrise" (because there's like, uhhh, conversations?) and an Ozu film, but after seeing Columbus myself I can confirm that both comparisons are trite. I think more of Koreeda, and not only because that's what I've been watching these days. Kogonada did a video essay on Koreeda.
  • It sneaks up on you as more than the sum of its parts, and it very often dares to be quiet. It's not for the impatient, that's for certain.
  • Did I mention Haley Lu Richardson? I hope she wins awards.


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