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Oscar-nominated 'Past Lives' was inspired by immigrant experience, director says
Oscar-nominated 'Past Lives' was inspired by immigrant experience, director says
Oscar-nominated 'Past Lives' was inspired by immigrant experience, director says
by DZRH News29 February 2024
Celine Song receives the Best Director award for "Past Lives" during the 39th Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, U.S. February 25, 2024. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

SEOUL, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Korean-Canadian director Celine Song said her life as an immigrant inspired the Oscar-nominated film "Past Lives", speaking ahead of its release in South Korean cinemas on Wednesday.

Specifically, she drew on a conversation between her friend visiting from South Korea and her husband at a bar in New York, Song told a press conference in the capital, Seoul.

"As a bilingual, I was translating between the two who couldn't communicate and it made me realise I was translating some parts of my identity and history," she added.

"That made me want to make this film."


The film, which centres on two old friends, Nora and Hae Sung, who reunite in New York decades after having parted ways as children in South Korea, has drawn critical acclaim since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

It won a Best Picture nomination for this year's Academy Awards, competing against the likes of "Oppenheimer" and "Anatomy Of A Fall" as well as for Best Original Screenplay.

The film also won the award for best feature at the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Song was born and brought up in South Korea before moving to Canada at the age of 12, similar to the main character Nora.


It was a personal choice to make her first feature film autobiographical, she added.

"As one human being, I think it should be something that you deeply believe only you can do or you must do in order to make or write something worthwhile to watch," Song said.

Yu Young-gi, a 48-year-old South Korean cinemagoer, told Reuters he was rooting for the film to win an Oscar.

“Connection between the sense of South Korean and American was an exciting point to watch since this film harmonizes well with both senses," he said.


(Reporting by Minwoo Park and Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jonathan Oatis)

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