Prominent film critic and video essayist Kogonada made waves with 2017’s Columbus, his first foray into narrative feature filmmaking. John Cho stars a Jin, the son of a famous architecture scholar, who flies into the eponymous Indiana town where his estranged father has been taken ill while visiting to give a guest lecture. With his father in hospital, Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a recent high school graduate, architecture enthusiast and tour guide who takes care of her mother, a recovering drug addict.
Kogonada channels the likes of Roberto Rossellini and Richard Linklater as Jin and Casey walk-and-talk their way through the modernist mecca of Columbus, discussing first the architecture, then their lives and those of their parents. There’s a will-they-won’t-they chemistry that adds tension, but Kogonada – for whom the Japanese auteur Yasujirō Ozu is a key influence — takes a patient approach, rewarding viewers with reserved poetry and soulful moments as his characters discover each other and their environment.