'Past Lives' director draws from real life for love story across continents, time

February 21, 2023 11:34 am

[Source: Reuters]

“Past Lives” opens with a shot of the three main characters at a bar in New York.

Two other patrons guess how the trio know each other, setting up a love story drawing on the Korean concept of “inyeon,” or how people end up in each other’s lives.

That scene re-creates a moment from director Celine Song’s life that inspired her to make the film, her first feature, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews.

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The Korean-Canadian director recounts visiting a bar with her American husband and a childhood sweetheart from Korea.

As Nora explains to Arthur before their first kiss, inyeon is the idea that when two people brush against each other in a crowd, that’s the culmination of events that have taken place over thousands of years.