“Return to Seoul”, an adoption story like no other
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It is the vibrant story of a young girl once adopted in Korea by French parents who suddenly finds herself, despite herself, searching for her origins. Opening in French theaters starting January 25, “Return to Seoul” is a painful and liberating story, cleverly produced and composed by French-Cambodian director Davy Chou, and incredibly densely embodied by Ji – min Park, a true revelation in her first role as an actress.
Everything seems simple. A girl abandoned in Korea by her parents and adopted in France one day goes in search of her roots. Except that the fate of the more than 200,000 Korean children adopted after the end of the Korean War in 1953 is not the story told in return to seoul. In his film, Davy Chou follows the character of Freddie for several years. And this young woman who seems so sure of herself returns for the first time at the age of 25 to the country where she was born. But she chooses this destination at the last moment, by chance, at the airport, when her original flight is canceled and a flight to Seoul is available.
” He goes on a two-week vacation, with no ulterior motives, no ideas in his head, and especially not with the idea of meeting his biological parents.. It’s not at all what she’s looking for, Davy Chou explains his script. However, after a few days, he comes face to face with his biological father and his family. At this point, things take a rather surprising turn, and a bit different from what you’d normally expect from an adoption movie. »
Ji-min Park makes a difference
It is also Ji-min Park who makes the difference. With the beauty of her that she ignores herself, but bursts the screen, she gives birth to a complex character, ungrateful and touching, vulnerable and angry, mysterious and violent, full of contradictions. ” Sometimes it was enough to put the camera on the face for the viewer to have access to the interiority and mystery of feelings. »
Like her character, Ji-min Park was born in Seoul. He landed in Paris at the age of 8 years. Drawing on his own life, he found many similarities to his role as Freddie, to the point that he actually lived his character at times: “ What surprised me the most was when I had that moment of grace, the happy medium between me and the character. When I realized that he was playing stuff! And that I wasn’t just me. It was very strong. There were times when I thought to myself :ooh i’m playing ! »
Davy Chou also drew on his own experiences in writing the script. The trigger of return to seoul it was the fate reserved for one of Davy Chou’s best friends. She had experienced a similar story and had taken the principal with her to meet her biological father. But behind this tragedy still resonates another, in relation to the Cambodian origins of Davy Chou. Although, unlike his previous film about Cambodian youth, diamond island, this time he did not explore the land of his ancestors. Because, as the grandson of Van Chann, one of the greatest producers in the history of Cambodian cinema, Dayv Chou today embodies the hope for a renaissance of Cambodian cinema. And he himself lived through the painful experience of a radical break forever with his family history disrupted by the Khmer Rouge: ” The fact that my parents went to France, and that a large part of our family died during the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge, is something I also feel very deeply. “.
It is not a return to the roots.
For this, for him return to seoul It’s not a movie like any other about roots. ” For example, at the age of 25 I went to Cambodia for the first time, the country where my parents were born. A country I knew nothing about. All my friends told me : “You are going back to the roots”. I really turned it down and said “No, it’s not exactly that.” People put my trip to Cambodia in a very predefined box. Rather, I made the film in resistance to certain back-to-basics clichés. With everything one can imagine of melancholy, nostalgia, self-revelation. Things are much more complex, much more violent at times, complicated too, and require much more time. That’s what interested me. »