John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin
When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his translator son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. He strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library, and as their intimacy develops, they explore both the town and their conflicted emotions and situations: including Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother.
With its naturalistic rhythms and empathetic insights into the complexities of families, this affecting debut from director Kogonada (previously better known for his lauded video essays) recalls the work of Yasujiro Ozu and unfolds as an absorbing, gently drifting conversation. With intelligent and impactful performances from Cho and Richardson and strong supporting turns from Parker Posey, Rory Culkin and Michelle Forbes, it’s a piercing study of how the physical spaces around us affect our emotions that feels fresh and innovative and marks Kogonada out as a new voice to watch.