I love movies that really invest in location, because one of the genuine joys of cinema is as a travelogue. I moved around a lot as a child and so pulling up roots for me is not only a comforting thought, it speaks to my identity. My adult life doesn’t allow for as much peregrination as I’d like, but pictures that bring me to places I love, or introduce me to new ones, they’ve got a path into my heart.
That’s at least partly why I thought Past Lives was the best movie of 2023. Maybe it’s because like its central character I spent part of my childhood in Seoul, or maybe it’s because the connective tissue with people I spent my itinerant youth with still very much informs who I am today despite the frequently far-flung geography.
I haven’t been to New York since 2018, and I’m overdue. When I do I’ll be sure to visit the locations described here in this excellent Rolling Stone article by David Fear. Song’s description of shooting in New York in this piece is maybe the best I’ve ever heard. She describes it like a relationship with “a volatile, amazing, really hot musician.”