Scene 2 Seen Podcast: ‘Past Lives’ Director Celine Song Discusses Destiny & Creating A Different Type Of Romance Film

Hello and Welcome to the Scene 2 Seen podcast. I am your host Valerie Complex and today we are talking to writer, director Celine Song.

Song is a Korean-Canadian-American filmmaker, an exciting new voice in directing and screenwriting, who with her feature debut, A24’s Past Lives, has made an impressive mark on global audiences’. 

Loosely based and inspired by Song’s own life experience, the film follows Nora (Greta Lee) and HaeSung (Teo Yoo), two deeply connected childhood friends, who are wrested apart after Nora’s family emigrated from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that make a life.

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Song’s assuredness and talent as a filmmaker is evident in the script which continues to receive overwhelmingly high praise since its premiere, hailing it the best film of the year, and maintains a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

As an auteur driven film that won accolades out of Sundance. Past Lives has since traversed the festival circuit in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, where it won the Audience Award, and Berlin, where it was nominated for the Berlinale Golden Bear, and will soon make its way to festivals in London, Galway, New Zealand and more. The film was released by A24 exclusively in theaters on June 2 and, after taking the US box office by storm with the highest opening for an indie film this year, began a quick expansion to screens across the country.

Also an established playwright, Song is best known for Endlings which premiered in 2019 at American Repertory Theater and had its New York debut in 2020 at New York Theatre Workshop. She has been a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and a semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award. During the New York Theatre Company’s virtual 2020 season, she presented live on Twitch, The Seagull on the Sims 4. Song also wrote on the first season of Amazon series Wheel of Time.

During our chat we discussed Korean culture and the concept of Fate, creating a different type of Romance, and what it means to express intentional love. 

If you like what you hear on the podcast, be sure to review, like, and subscribe to Scene 2 Seen on Apple and Spotify!

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