The 7 p.m. Sunday screening at the Kentucky Theatre, co-hosted by The Mid-Century Society of Lexington, is set in Columbus, Ind., a town just south of Indianapolis renowned for its buildings by modern architects I.M. Pei and Harry Weese.
“Columbus” centers on two people weighing their responsibilities to themselves and their parents: Jin (John Cho), the son of an architecture professor forced to leave his job in Seoul to come to Indiana and care for his ailing father, an architecture professor, and Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), who loves her hometown’s unique character but struggles with her fractured home life.
Kogonada, who was born in South Korea and raised in the Midwest, told NBC News he was inspired to make the film after visiting Columbus.
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“If you’re from the Midwest, you take (Interstate) 65 and you pass Columbus all the time,” Kogonada said. “I knew once I visited that this would be this incredible place to shoot a film for all kinds of reasons, including (exploring) the effect of modernism on a place.”
In his New Yorker piece, “The Precocious Genius of ‘Columbus,’” Richard Brody writes: “Those buildings provide an extraordinary premise for the drama, which is a visionary transformation of a familiar genre: a young adult’s coming-of-age story. For once, that trope doesn’t involve a sexual awakening or a family revelation; it’s the tale of an intellectual blossoming, thanks to a new friendship that arises amid troubled circumstances.”