On the ninth episode of All the Film Things, we are continuing to focus on likely Oscar contenders! I am joined by my friend and cinematographer, Josie Cruz, to discuss and analyze Celine Song’s instant classic debut feature film, Past Lives. This episode is spoiler- filled.

Past Lives is a romantic drama that explores the deep connection between childhood friends, who are also each other’s first loves’, over the span of 24 years.  The film, set mostly in NYC and Seoul, follows Nora (known as Na Young before she emigrated) and Hae Sung as they navigate their relationship from losing contact with one another to finding each other again as they go through life. When Hae Sung comes to visit a now- married Nora in NYC, they try and understand their relationship and significance to one another. Inspired by her real life experiences, the film was written and directed by Celine Song featuring excellent performances by Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro. This episode was recorded on November 26, 2023… one day before Past Lives won Best Picture at the Gotham Awards. Up until that win, fans of this film, including Josie and I, had been concerned Past Lives may not get the recognition it deserves during the upcoming awards season. Now that Past Lives earned the big award on November 27, the Past Lives fan community has hope it will receive proper recognition at the Oscars. As I mention in this episode, this is a rare, true film in present day cinema.

This is Josie’s ATFT debut! Josie is a cinematographer who recently graduated college. You can view her reel by clicking this link: https://jojigami.webflow.io . She has been one of the biggest supporters of this podcast and the Instagram associated with the podcast, for which I am very grateful. This episode came together fast. There were two cancellations and I was running out of time to plan what Episode 9 would be. I knew I wanted to do an episode on Past Lives and I also knew I’ve been wanting to have Josie on as a guest. So, I randomly asked one day if she happened to see Past Lives, thinking it was unlikely… but to my surprise, it happened to be one of her top films of the year! We soon recorded this episode and it has turned out to be one of the best episodes released so far on this wide release of ATFT. And this certainly won’t be the last time you’ll hear her on ATFT. 

In this episode, Josie and I analyze a range of moments and topics about the film. While dissecting the film, we learn that the suspense posed by the trailer of “Who will Nora choose?” isn’t really what the film is about. We talked about how Nora’s decision was always the same while also going deeper into the complexity of her dynamic with both Hae Sung and Arthur as well as the complexity of Past Lives as a whole. Josie talked about how meaningful this film is to her and connections she made in her own life while I talk about this film’s similar, trademark qualities of New Hollywood- 70s films. We also talked about the depiction of present day technology in the film, the power of utilizing silence, and much more! 

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