The announcement of an incredible cinematic talent- easily one of the five best cinematic debuts this century from Kogonada
Shot on location in Columbus, Indiana and a major subject is architecture itself so it’ll be interesting to see how Kogonada chooses to follow this up– two things though, I mean part of me just says “who cares if he never follows this up- just enjoy this for what it is” and another thing worth noting here is that the interiors in the film are just as beautiful as the exteriors using the local architecture here
There is tremendous skill in how Kogonada frames every shot—nearly every one is a feat of art, photography and architecture—but they interact- both with each other visually (formally) and with the narrative and subject matter
Though it’s his debut- cinephiles will recognize Kogonada from his video essays on Kubrick, Ozu, Bergman, Wes Anderson, Linklater and others. I see Ozu (both content and visuals), Antonioni, Zhangke Jia, Antonioni (both Zhangke Jia and Antonioni with architecture as character), Linklater the most. Again, I’m pretty blown away that Kogonada took all this and creating something distinctive and symphonically tied together with the narrative and visuals.
Kogonada takes his name from Ozu’s screenwriter
Straight lines and symmetry of frame—pillow shot cutaways and gorgeous montage image resets
Foreground and background duality
Doorways as framing device
Family relationships like Ozu—walking and talking around a beautify city like Linklater
There’s a shot by the lake that could easily compare to Dreyer’s mise-en-scene masterpiece Gertrud
The open door with mirror
Hallway Ozu shots reoccurring, another one of an alley
Both actors- John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson are superb—but Richardson is a revelation- fantastic here
White hat on a teal chair framed in a doorway shot—stunner
Filled with jaw-dropping wall-art mise-en-scene work
Kogonada can shoot from inside a car using the shape of the seat and head rest as a framing device- incredibly special
I wonder if Kogonada will be this generation’s Malick figure: a mysterious recluse who makes beautiful movies and bizarre career decisions. Certainly the subjects with which they choose to produce their gorgeous images are quite different (nature vs. architecture) and it would be premature and naive to estimate that Kogonada will ever achieve or even near Malick’s greatness, but there is similarity.
Obviously the beautifully arranged mise-en-scene, predominantly still camera, occasional transition shots, and similarly named screenwriters (by way of pseudonym) are more than enough to confirm Columbus’ connection with Yasujiro Ozu, but another similarity I found that you don’t mention is the similarity of Haley Lu Richardson’s acting style with Setsuko Hara’s. Both actresses continually smile to mask their character’s inner sadness and to create humanistic sympathy.
[…] Columbus – Kogonada […]
Have you seen After Yang, is it in the archive.
@Alt Mash- I have seen it, and it is in the archives- but certainly a letdown (at least after one viewing) as a follow-up to Columbus.