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Past Lives

From the restrained beginning to its tender end, PAST LIVES is a film in which every nuance is right, capturing every subtle oscillation that hangs in the air between the three protagonists, never saying too much or too little.

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From the restrained beginning to its tender end, PAST LIVES is a film in which every nuance is right, capturing every subtle oscillation that hangs in the air between the three protagonists, never saying too much or too little.

Director Celine Song approaches the topic very carefully, because she knows that something things disappear when you shine a light that‘s too bright or label it too soon. In the beginning you see three people sitting in a bar. The woman in the middle is having a lively conversation with the man to her right. To the left there‘s another man, somewhat closer. He doesn‘t take part in the conversation and looks straight ahead. Off-screen, the other bar patrons ask who these friends are to each other: friends, a couple and two siblings, lovers?

In order to answer this question, which isn‘t so easy, time jumps back 24 years. Young Na and Hae Sung are school children in Korea, best friends, and a bit in love. Young Na tells her mother that she will marry Hae Sung in the future. But this future doesn‘t exist, because the family is emigrating to Toronto. Young Na embarks on a new life, where she will be called Nora. Hae Sung is left behind at the crossroad, where the two of them said said goodbye to each other after every school day.

12 years later, Nora has moved to New York and has begun a promising career as a writer. By chance, she comes across a social media post by Hae Sung saying he‘s looking for her. She texts him and soon they start regularly chatting between Seoul and New York. They know each other well from before but they also don‘t, they talk day and night, just as they have woken up or tired once again, sharing parts of their different lives, interrupted by shaky internet connections and a life that doesn‘t include the other.

12 more years go by. Nora has married Arthur, who she met at an artist‘s residency, and lives in the East Village. They are a friendly, happy couple. Hae Sung has become an engineer, lived in China for a while, and still goes out drinking with the same friends. After his girlfriend leaves him, he flies to New York to visit Nora. And again, for the fourth time now, PAST LIVES is a meeting story, because Nora and Hae Sung, who are now meeting, don‘t have anything in common with the children they were and the 20-somethings they only met in cyberspace. They have to find out who they are to each other and for themselves. Especially Nora, who feels like she belongs to different worlds.

PAST LIVES is a deeply romantic film filled with goodbyes and encounters, beginnings and endings. The conversations are often half-ironic, half-serious, “In-Yun,“ a Korean version of destiny, that sees encounters as predetermined. Those who fleetingly meet were a couple in a former life, and those who married have met each other 8000 times during many reincarnations, Nora explains. In PAST LIVES, In-Yun isn‘t a static concept, it gives room for simultaneity and movement: perhaps there is no more a predetermined person than there is a fixed identity, someone who stays the same person their entire life?

Hendrike Bake (INDIEKINO MAGAZIN)

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: Past Lives
USA 2023, 106 min
Genre: Drama, Love Stories
Director: Celine Song
Author: Celine Song
DOP: Shabier Kirchner
Montage: Keith Fraase
Music: Christopher Bear, Daniel Rossen
Distributor: STUDIOCANAL
Cast: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro, Moon Seung-ah
Release: 17.08.2023

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Past Lives

(Past Lives) | USA 2023 | Drama, Love Stories | R: Celine Song

From the restrained beginning to its tender end, PAST LIVES is a film in which every nuance is right, capturing every subtle oscillation that hangs in the air between the three protagonists, never saying too much or too little.

Screenings

Friedrichshain

b-ware! ladenkino

Sunday 16.06.

TicketsBuy Tickets OmU11:00

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