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PAST LIVES Trailer: Celine Song’s Romantic Debut is Already of the Best Films of the Year

Writer-director Celine Song’s feature debut Past Lives was one of the late additions to this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where audiences were unexpectedly floored by its romantic storytelling and swooning over the chemistry between its two leads Greta Lee and Teo Yoo. It takes into theory the Korean notion of ‘In Yun,’ or fate stemming from a connection in a past life. Lee and Yoo light up the screen as Nora and Hae, childhood sweethearts who grew up in South Korea until Nora’s family immigrated to the United States. Twenty years later, the old flames reunite in New York where Nora has made a life for herself, much to the slight concern of her loving and supportive husband (John Magaro). The A24 drama is also playing in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. It will be released in theaters later this year.

In his review from Sundance, HtN’s editor-at-large Matt Delman wrote “The director herself, in telling a personal story, affirms an undeniable connection to persons of our own ethnic background, those from our ‘homeland’. Ultimately the film works as a passionate provocation, a what could have been, and what will remain… Past Lives is graceful and tender, sweet and romantic, deliberate but never dull… They are less of a narrative crutch and moreso a necessity to allow for the long, deep breaths of father time to shape these characters. In a packed Eccles theater, the final scene ended with an emotional wallop and a standing ovation.”

Watch the trailer below:

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M.J. O'Toole began writing for HtN in early 2021 during the Sundance Film Festival. An NYC native and lifelong cinephile, his favorite films include Chungking Express, The Three Colors Trilogy, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Lovers on the Bridge, and Midnight Cowboy. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for the agency 3rd Impression - working alongside Editor-at-large Matt Delman - that specializes in digital marketing for independent film. He holds a BA from Adelphi University and a Masters in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts. You can check out his portrait and street photography on Instagram.

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