The audience watches as two individuals tentatively turn their bodies toward each other in a slow mirroring of the other’s body language. 

They’ve known each other their entire lives.

Yet at this moment, they stand in silence, the tension of the stillness in the scene permeating to the increasing heartbeats sitting in the Coronado Village Theater.

Everybody’s breaths are held as they wait for what’s to happen next. The characters finally stand heart to heart after their slow dance to face each other straight on. 

And then the Uber pulls up and cuts the apprehension of the scene like a knife. 

A collective breath releases at that moment, whether it’s of relief or a sigh of disappointment, but it lingers in ponderous anticipation for the next few minutes until the end of the film. 

The feature film is “Past Lives,” the directorial debut of Celine Song, and an A24 production. 

A still from Celine Song’s “Past Lives,,” a story about two deeply connected childhood friends as they are wrested apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Twenty years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny. Photo from

A24 has a series of hits

A24 is an independent entertainment production company that’s brought “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once” the Academy Award winning picture, “Uncut Gems,” one of the top 10 films of 2019 and the teen drama “Euphoria,” the fourth most watched series in HBO history.

Met with claps and a murmuring of conversations as the film ended, the motion picture followed two South Korean children, connected by friendship and early love, and their journey together as one of them immigrated to America and they reconnect at two different points in their lives during the next 24 years. 

Na Young, or Nora, her American name, meets someone and gets married in those 24 years; but when she finds her childhood friend, Hae Sung, in New York, an overwhelming surge of emotions overcomes her. 

Audience at the end of “Past Lives” at the Coronado Village Theater. Staff photo by Madeline Yang.

And although it’s discussed slightly in a bathroom conversation with her husband, it’s left up to the audience to interpret those emotions in between the lines, quite literally, as the film is spoken mainly in Korean with English subtitles lining the bottom of the screen. 

Just one of the feature films to grace the Coronado Island Film Festival screens this year, it speaks to the diversity and variety that CIFF CEO and Artistic Director Merridee Book was adamant about having.

More News

Madeline Yang is a reporter for The Coronado News, covering the City of Coronado, the U.S Navy and investigating the Tijuana/Coronado sewage issue. She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with her Bachelors in Journalism with an emphasis in Visual Storytelling. She loves writing, photography and videography and one day hopes to be a filmmaker. She can be reached by phone at 916-835-5843.