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‘Past Lives’ Trailer: Celine Song’s A24 Debut Is Already the Year’s Most Acclaimed Film

Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro star in the screenwriter's feature directorial debut from A24.

A still from Past Lives by Celine Song, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jon Pack

“Past Lives”

Jon Pack

One of Sundance 2023’s most acclaimed films will make it to theaters soon. The first trailer for “Past Lives,” Celine Song’s feature directorial debut, has been released by A24.

A romantic drama, “Past Lives” focuses on the decades-long connection between main character Nora (Greta Lee, from “Russian Doll”) and her childhood best friend Hae Sung (Teo Yoo). The two form a budding romance while attending primary school in Seoul, which is cut short after Nora’s family emigrates to Canada. 12 years later, Nora reconnects with Hae Sung via social media, but another 12 years pass before they finally meet in person — and by then, Nora has gotten married to another man, Arthur (John Magaro). The film focuses on Hae Sung’s visit to New York, where Nora lives and works as a playwright, and the few days they spend in each other’s company as they ponder what might have been.

“Past Lives” made its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival last month, and also screened at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this week. The film bowed at Sundance to rapturous acclaim, with critic’s praising Song’s script and direction as well as the performances of all three leads. The film ranked at No. 2 on IndieWire’s survey of 367 critics’ favorite films that screened at the festival, and received more No. 1 votes from critics than any other title.

In his review of “Past Lives,” IndieWire Chief Film Critic David Ehrlich said that the movie was “destined” to be one of the best of 2023, writing: “Here is a romance that unfolds with the mournful resignation of the Leonard Cohen song that inspires Nora’s English-language name; it’s a movie less interested in tempting its heroine with ‘the one who got away’ than it is in allowing her to reconcile with the version of herself he kept as a souvenir when she left.”

A24 distributes the film, and produces with 2AM, Killer Films, and CJ ENM. Other films set to be released by A24 this year include “Beau is Afraid” (in April), “Showing Up,” “The Iron Claw,” and fellow 2023 Sundance premieres “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “The Deepest Breath,” “Earth Mama,” and “You Hurt My Feelings.”

A release date for “Past Lives” has not yet been announced. Watch the full trailer for the film below.

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