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A reunion takes on surprising emotional depth in this sequence from the drama “Past Lives.”
Shot in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, the sequence begins as the character Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), waits for the arrival of a childhood sweetheart he hasn’t seen in person in 24 years, Nora (Greta Lee).
“The thing that we were trying to capture here is this sense of anxiety and excitement, some kind of mix of both, of waiting for your old friend,” said the film’s writer and director, Celine Song, narrating the scene.
When Nora arrives, the moment continues to play out almost wordlessly. “The way that I wrote this in the script is that, it’s as though he is seeing a ghost. And she’s also seeing a ghost.”
As the two awkwardly interact, they mostly maintain a distance, and the camera (with cinematography by Shabier Kirchner) moves back and forth to spend time with each individual while they are in conversation. Song said that in this scene, she wanted to keep both the characters and the audience in a state of longing and happiness.
Read the “Past Lives” review.
Read an interview with the actress Greta Lee.
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