cinetopia film festival review: columbus

Written by Bowie Jones


Columbus was so visually striking in such a modest way that it will lure you into every moment, frame and fiber of the film. The film follows a dual storyline of Jin, a Korean man whose estranged father has slipped into a coma in Columbus, IN. Jin meets a local girl, Casey, who is fascinated by the town’s modern architecture but is reluctant to pursue higher education so she can stay with her mother, a recovering drug addict. The characters find each during periods of their own stagnation and they bond over the modern architectural landmarks Casey takes them to.


What’s most interesting about this film is that every single shot compliments and reflects the modern architecture of Columbus, IN. The framing follows this idea through the movie; every shot is balanced and the balance of every image has meaning.

Courtesy of Cinetopia Film Festival program

Courtesy of Cinetopia Film Festival program

It is difficult to express how this film entrances and provokes emotion over what seems like a typical indie melodrama. The visuals of this film are so uniquely pleasing that it captures you. The image rings you into the heart of the film and suddenly you feel as though you are right there with the characters. You feel as though the sequencing of the film is following your emotions and you are enveloped in the story. Like I said, it is hard to explain the way this movie pleases the eyes and how easy it was to digest.


As the story progresses and the characters evolve, the camera shifts. The balance changes throughout each sequence and perfectly flows into one another. This serene, obscurist environment with so much emotional imbalance is hosted by perfectly centered structures that you just watch as the story pulls away the layers to slowly expose the deeper meaning of the film.


This film is a purely unique work of art that will connect you to ordinary everyday things and people you never thought you would care about. The imagery of Columbus will stick with you long after it’s end. Directed by Kogonada, it is currently making it’s way around the festival circuit and will be released to the select theaters nationwide in August 2017. If this film playing near you, take the opportunity to see a truly refreshing film, from story to image, on the big screen and lose yourself in its humble glory.


Featured at the 2017 Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor and Detroit, MI. The festival took place June 1st - 11th and featured “the best films from the world’s best film festivals.”

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