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Sometimes it takes a really loud film to put me in the mood to watch something more contemplative. I think most contemplative films are niche. They have characters played by actors, but they often add character to their environment. Because of that, the filmography becomes an even more important role here. I also wanted to take a break from CGI and special effects for a bit. So, this one has being on my list for a while now.
Columbus (2017) is written and directed by Kogonada. I have to mention the cinematography by Elisha Christian. Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) lives in Columbus, Indiana where she lives, works at the university and takes care of her mother. Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded there after his father, a famous architect visiting for a lecture, falls into a coma. Casey is a lover of architecture, and Jin, surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) does not care for it. The result is a quiet, subtle but powerful movie that just invites you to watch and contemplate.
Both the architecture and the journey that both characters are on seem to complement each other. Although I was tempted to believe both Casey and Jin are basically at an impasse, the coincidence of meeting each other is the catalyst for the story. Both bond through architecture, which Jin learns to appreciate through Casey’s explanations. This is not a movie without conflict though, but the turmoil is within each character.
The cinematography is amazing. Mostly the camera remains still, which is a godsend if you are in the correct appreciative mood. Too many films nowadays seemed to be aimed at a short span audience. This one will not even entertain the idea of appealing to the popcorn crowd. The pace might be slow, but don’t expect to wait for the storytelling. It’s all in the details. If you’re waiting for something, you’re missing something. It’s not for everyone, and it won’t work all the time but if you see it at the right point it works.
Strongly recommended if you can slow down and watch it. I’m not calling it a love letter to architecture, because it’s more of a human drama told with amazing cinematography. I will leave the architectural appreciation to the experts, but I think it works in every scene. The acting is powerful without ever being loud. I just hope the right audience will find it. I think it’s a great watch and I will have to rewatch this one again.
That will do for now.