The acclaimed Kogonada movie, “Columbus”!

John Cho discussing scene on courthouse square, Columbus - photo by Mike Wolanin, The Republic

John Cho preparing to shoot a scene at the Courthouse Square in Columbus
Photo by Mike Wolanin, The Republic newspaper

I grew up in the Midwest. I had passed exit 68 off I-65 many times in my life, but I had no idea what was just off the ramp. Not too long ago, I ventured off and discovered a town in the middle of cornfields enchanted by modern architecture. I was moved and haunted and felt compelled to make a movie about this place. That movie is COLUMBUS. – Kogonada, writer/director

Columbus, the movie, poster
New Yorker movie review quote
Vanity Fair movie review quote

The official movie trailer for COLUMBUS (2:05)

Review of COLUMBUS by Los Angeles Times reviewer (1:47)

John Cho talks about COLUMBUS on Late Night (4:21)


“You may never have seen a movie as obsessed with architecture as the quiet and unassuming Columbus, in which John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson build a bond that exists both literally and figuratively in the shadows of the great modern buildings of Columbus, Indiana.”

“Not a movie that makes much noise, but the one that most got under my skin. Set in an Indiana town blessed with an unusual amount of innovative architecture, Columbus is about people, their relationships and the way their souls are fed by the buildings around them. With terrific performances by Parker Posey, John Cho, and face-to-watch Haley Lu Richardson, it is a film that is not just for the heart and mind, but about the heart and mind.”

“As a movie about intimacy Columbus is a masterpiece. The architecture of Columbus, Indiana, and the architecture of this film achieve a harmony rare in contemporary cinema.”

“Richardson in particular vaults to the forefront of her generation’s actors with this performance, which virtually sings with emotional and intellectual acuity.”

“Kogonada takes us on a tour of Columbus and all of its glorious, beautiful, occasionally surreal architecture, from the Columbus Learning Center to the Second Street Suspension Bridge.”

Columbus movie wins Best Feature Film and Haley Lu Richardson wins Best Actress awards at Valetta Film Festival in Malta.

John and Haley Lu inside an installation for Exhibit Columbus.
Photo by Tony Vasquez

Kogonada and crew at Inn at Irwin Gardens.
Photo by Tony Vasquez

John and Haley Lu on Charles Eames chair at 301 Washington offices.
Photo by Tony Vasquez

Guide to the movie locations

View the guide to the locations where the scenes of COLUMBUS were shot.

John Cho interview on NPR

Discussion about COLUMBUS begins at 12:40…
“One of the privileges of shooting the movie was to be in these beautiful spaces…it’s not so much about how it looks as much as it is how it makes you feel when you’re standing in those spaces.” – John Cho


“Richardson plays a recent high school grad named Casey who befriends Jin (played by John Cho), a visitor to Casey’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana. In real life, the city has a massive amount of modernist architecture and public art, setting a gorgeous backdrop for the characters’ heavy conversations. Columbus is, according to Richardson, ‘the most fulfilling role I’ve ever done.’”

“Those who appreciate ‘Columbus’ will likely take it to heart. The relationships between each of the characters are imbued with warmth and humanity, and the filmmaking — like the city’s structures designed by the likes of Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei — is simply gorgeous.”

“Kogonada’s work never feels overly stylized. He is merely finding the best angles on his backdrops, like a painter finding the best size canvas for what he wants to convey. It reminds one how few filmmakers even consider the canvas… Columbus is a Remarkable film.”

“And now for something completely different, a pleasantly eccentric film that’s the feature debut of visual artist Kogonada. Set in ‘the Athens of the Prairie,’ Columbus, Ind., the unlikely site of a trove of modern architecture, its impeccably composed shots of stunning buildings are as much of a lure as its deliberately paced story.”

“A midwestern town to its core, Columbus is graced with architecture by neofuturist Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei protege James Stewart Polshek. The results are structures that are both beautiful and invisible: They’re massive pieces of art, but people regularly pass by or enter them without noticing. And if you look deeply at them, they morph into marvels of negative space. That reveals how nothingness blots out so much of what there is to experience in our world, a distinctly non-Western concept.”

“Columbus” is a movie about the experience of looking, the interior space that opens up when you devote yourself to looking at something, receptive to the messages it might have for you. Movies (the best ones anyway) are the same way. Looking at something in a concentrated way requires a mind-shift. Sometimes it takes time for the work to even reach you, since there’s so much mental ballast in the way. The best directors point to things, saying, in essence: “Look.” I haven’t been able to get “Columbus” out of my mind.

Kogonada and John Cho at Miller House
NYTimes movie review


“(Columbus, Indiana) is block after block of just fascinating buildings … It is a kind of wondrous place. It is a bit of an emerald city.”

  • “Columbus” star John Cho, speaking at Sundance

“Imagine an American-indie remake of an Apichatpong Weerasethakul film, and you’ll get part of the way to picturing what filmmaker Kogonada has accomplished with his feature debut. | A film about people in limbo, Columbus derives a lot of its power from its environment, Kogonada utilizing buildings and landscape to suggest lives dwarfed by circumstance and destiny. That description might make Columbus sound ponderous, but this light drama has a soft center as Jin and Casey try to figure out themselves. | Not quite a love story—more like a film about an accidental friendship—Columbus speaks softly but resonates loudly.” —Tim Grierson

  • From The 20 Best Films of Sundance 2017 – see the original at Paste magazine

“Columbus” is one of the rare films in which nerdy intelligence—knowledge without experience—comes off without neurosis, comedic awkwardness, or vengeance.

Set entirely in the overcast city of Columbus, Indiana, a small town that’s renowned as an unexpected mecca of modernist architecture, “Columbus” unfolds like a remake of “Garden State” as directed by Yasujirō Ozu…the film reflects what we have through the lens of what we’ve lost. We’re all surrounded by wonder, but few of us have the power to see it for ourselves.

  • from The 25 Best Movie Moments of 2017, According to IndieWire Critic David Ehrlich

“Watching the film myself, my sense of space changes: a dreamlike calm washes over me as the stillness of this small town stops the movement of New York City, if only for a few hours…I revisit this film often. For me, it serves as a gentle reminder of how to slow down and take time to look closely at your surroundings…”