Celine Song on PAST LIVES: Switching from Theater to Film – Wendy Mitchell Interviews

Celine Song’s first day of shooting her debut feature was not the warmest welcome to her new career. The experienced playwright and theatre director was shooting a boat scene, cruising past the Statue of Liberty forPast Lives, but there was a record-setting storm in New York City. “I’ve never been on a film set before, and I show up on this set and it’s raining so hard you can’t see in front of your face,” Song says. “We’d had this really productive prep and we were feeling very prepared.” But they had not quite envisaged a storm of epic proportions. The crew and producers assured her it would clear — and, she reveals, “It did clear up and it was amazing.”

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Greta Lee and Celine Song talk PAST LIVES – Jennifer Green reports

For a film about the deep connections we have with others and how destiny shapes which relationships come and go in our lives, it would seem appropriate that the talents behind the film also share deep bonds. In fact, Past Lives writer-director Celine Song says she’s convinced she was married to actress Greta Lee in a past life. That’s the kind of connection the two forged working on one of this year’s standout films, now widely considered a top contender for recognition this awards season. Song and Lee shared details of their work, and the meaningful on- and off-camera relationships behind their poignant film.

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PAST LIVES – Review by Jennifer Green

If you’ve read anything about Past Lives, you’ve likely heard about the love story at the film’s core or the Korean fate-oriented concept of In-Yun that is woven throughout the tale. The film, which premiered at Sundance and competed in Berlin in 2023, is indeed a quietly powerful story of friendship, love and the winding paths our lives can take. But it is also a story about immigration, of straddling two cultures, and a meditation on the rewards and losses of making more than one country home.

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PAST LIVES – Review by Diane Carson

Beginning in Seoul, South Korea, Na Young, later known as Nora, and Hae Sung are young classmates. She comes in second to him on a math test and cries about it. Hae Sung shows the sensitivity that will define his character, and they part. Nora’s artist mother announces they will emigrate to Toronto, stating, “If you leave something behind, you gain something too.” The remainder of this deeply moving story illustrates exactly that, a reality that resonates with everyone who reflects on life. Director Celine Song renders this with profound impact devoid of sentimentality.

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