Alamo Drafthouse is proud to announce that first time director Celine Song's PAST LIVES is the latest Drafthouse Recommends selection, the program that's championed innovative and essential films for over a decade.
Starring Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro, PAST LIVES follows two childhood friends from South Korea as their paths bring them in and out of each other’s lives. With characters that feel real and lived in, a quietly devastating story of love and loss, and gorgeous, softly shot visuals, PAST LIVES is a personal story written and directed by filmmaker Celine Song.
Alamo Drafthouse will hold Advance Screenings of PAST LIVES on June 6th before opening in select locations on June 9th. Writer/director Celine Song and cast John Magaro, Teo Yoo, and Greta Lee will be in attendance at the Los Angeles screening for a live conversation about the film which will be livestreamed to other Alamo Drafthouse theaters across the country. Tickets for the LA screening can be found HERE, and all other advance screenings can be found HERE.
“We were all really blown away when we saw PAST LIVES," said Jenny Nulf, Alamo Drafthouse Film Booking Assistant and Programming Director of the Austin Asian American Film Festival. "It covers a lot of larger-than-life ideas that many romances tend to personify to the extreme, yet it is so down to earth, thoughtful, and delicate. It feels like something so completely new, yet also has the familiarity of your favorite comfort rewatch. It’s complex and brilliant, and we fully expect it to be many people’s new favorite film.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema highlighted three reasons in particular as to why audiences will love this meditative, romantic, heartbreaking story of crossed fates:
A LOVE STORY FOR THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC
PAST LIVES so effortlessly intertwines wistful fate and dreams of what-could-have-been. Director Celine Song utilizes time, possibility, and self reflection to remix the romantic drama, creating a quiet musing on the people and lives we leave behind when we embark on something new. It’s a film meant for dreamers, and it’s impossible to not get swept up by this sincere love story of yearning, heartache, and tenderness.
STUNNINGLY CONFIDENT DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
There’s a special kind of magic that surrounds a directorial debut that’s as refined as PAST LIVES. As a playwright, Song isn’t a novice when it comes to storytelling, but there’s something hauntingly beautiful about her first film that’s unmistakably remarkable. Song never overplays her beats – she delicately withholds where many would dive deep into melodrama. Paired with Shabier Kirchner’s (who also worked on SKATE KITCHEN and Steve McQueen’s SMALL AXE series) exquisite cinematography, Song builds a romance that is mature, thoughtful, and elegant.
FATE, LOSS, & POSSIBILITIES OF THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE
Nora (Greta Lee) introduces the Korean concept of In-Yun to Arthur (John Magaro) under the stars of Montauk on a writer’s retreat. Their meeting feels like fate, a powerful connection that has been layered throughout their own past lives. But Nora’s heart is intermingled with a fate she left behind – her childhood sweetheart Hae Sung (Teo Yoo). PAST LIVES looks both back and forward at the people we become and the selves that are left behind, integrating the duality that’s felt by a young first generation immigrant. Song’s poetic film wholly explores that multifaceted nature of humanity, loving more than one person at a time, with a level of gracefulness that’s scarcely achieved in love stories.
PAST LIVES is the first Drafthouse Recommends selection of 2023, following in the footsteps of recent titles such as Daniel’s record-breaking indie hit, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Ruben Östlund’s razor-sharp satire, TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, and Park Chan-wook’s seductive Korean neo-noir, DECISION TO LEAVE.