Past Lives director Celine Song 'so excited' to release film about her own life story

Festival darling Past Lives has finally landed in New Zealand cinemas and first-time filmmaker Celine Song could not be happier about it.

She visited Auckland to promote her award-winning debut, and sat down for a chat with Newshub's Kate Rodger.

In a few short months, the Korean-born American playwright has gone from a complete unknown to a celebrated filmmaker and with a story straight from her own past life.

This is Past Lives.

Nora and Hae Song are deeply connected childhood friends, and when Nora and her family leave Seoul for Canada, then New York City, it will be 20 years before they meet again.

It's a powerful intimate authentic story about connection, choices, and love.

And for Song, releasing her own story out into the world was incredibly nerve-wracking.

"I felt both things. 'Oh, I am so excited. I can't wait for this to be out of my control and in the world'," she said.

"And also, the feeling that, 'wow I'm never going to feel this again', which feels like still a secret."

Well, that secret is well and truly out.

Audiences across the globe have been immersing themselves in a love story spanning three different countries - with nothing lost in translation.

Newshub asked how Song would compare the three chapters when it comes to making the film. 

"Some of the making of this film really felt like the film itself, because sometimes I felt - first of all - that I was translating between these two worlds," Song replied.

"And I don't just mean in terms of language but sometimes through culture. Seoul has a different filmmaking culture than New York does. They both have such a strong personality when it comes how they make movies."

The film is a celebration of love in all its forms. For Song, casting this film was a love story in itself.

"So much of casting is actually the best way to talk about it. It's like falling in love. I met Greta over Zoom, and I was like 'huh, maybe it's going to be her! It feels like maybe she's the one'."

Now Kiwi audiences can fall in love too.

Past Lives has just opened in cinemas across Aotearoa.