Past Lives – Movie Review by Efe Teksoy


Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the romance and drama film “PAST LIVES” for America’s Los Angeles-based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.



Past Lives, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2023, is a semi-autobiographical romantic-drama film inspired by true events in the life of writer-director Celine Song. The production, which was nominated for the 81st Golden Globe Awards in 6 categories, is about two childhood friends over 24 years while they contemplate the nature of their relationship as they grow apart, living different lives. However, the story focuses on the concept of In-Yun, which means past lives/reincarnation in Korean. The characters Nora and Hae Sung, who cannot fully understand the tragic relationship between them, think that the reason why they cannot break away from each other, even though they live different lives, is that they may have connected countless times in their past lives. This brings us to the eternal return, which is the main subject of Nietzsche’s book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. It brings us to the thesis of Eternal Recurrence. In this view, Nietzsche; puts forward the thesis that time is in a cyclical form and that events have been repeated forever in this cyclicity and will be repeated forever.



This cycle also evokes the concept of the “Eternal Return” Myth. Romanian philosopher and historian Mircea Eliade, professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, is considered one of the most important academics in the history of religions, with more than 50 published works. This concept is a belief expressed through behavior that the events described in myths can take place or return to the modern form as long as the “Mythical Age” takes place. On the other hand, in the movie; We see that it is processed within the framework of the phenomenon of homesickness, belonging, and migration. It is seen that the concept of “Deterritorialization” by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, the leading philosophers of postmodern philosophy, also comes to the fore in this sense.

Stars; Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro, Moon Seung-ah, Leem Seung-min, Ji Hye Yoon, Choi Won-young, and Ahn Min-Young.



-Director Celine Song did not allow actors Teo Yoo and John Magaro to meet before filming their first scene together. So, when the characters Arthur and Hae Sung met for the first time, it was the first time the actors also met each other. The last scene of the movie was the first take.

– During the scene in the bar towards the end of the movie the song that can heard is “Don’t Look Back”, a song from 1965 by the Irish group Them featuring Van Morrison.

-Like Na Young/Nora, director Celine Song moved with her parents – her dad being a filmmaker – from Korea to Canada. She later settled in the US, started playwriting, and married a writer.

-Despite his character’s thick accent and broken English, Teo Yoo (Hae Sung) speaks very fluent English along with three other languages.



Shooting of the movie Past Lives; It took place in Seoul-South Korea and New York-USA. It is one of the favorite productions of the award season with its dramatic structure and powerful cinematography.



DELEUZE, G. (2005). Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni), Özcan Doğan, translate, Araf Yayıncılık press, Ankara.

DELEUZE, G ve GUATTARI, F. (1990). Nomadology: The War Machine (Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni 1- Göçebebilimi İncelemesi: Savaş Makinesi), Ali Akay, translate, Bağlam Yayınları press, İstanbul.

DELEUZE, G ve PARNET, C. (1990).  Dialogues (Diyaloglar), Ali Akay, translate, Bağlam Yayınları press, İstanbul.

NIETZSCHE. Friedrich, On the Genealogy of Morality (Ahlakın Soykütüğü Üstüne-Bir Kavga Yazısı), Ahmet İnam, translate, İstanbul: Say Yayınları press, 2022

NIETZSCHE. Friedrich, Gay Science (Şen Bilim), Ahmet İnam, traslate, İstanbul: Say Yayınları press, 2021

NIETZSCHE. Friedrich, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (İşte Böyle Dedi Zerdüşt), Ahmet Cemal, traslate, Pinhan Yayıncılık press, İstanbul: 2011


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