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The Crack Magazine

return to seoul.jpg

Return to Seoul

Director: Davy Chou

Stars: Park Jim-Min, Oh Kwang-rok, Kim Sun-Young, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Yoann Zimmer

French-Cambodian director Chou’s picture is a haunting study of displacement and belonging. In her debut acting role, visual artist Jim-Min Park is Freddie, a twentysomething Korean woman who was adopted as a baby by a French couple and raised in the French countryside. Seemingly on a whim, Freddie returns to the country of her birth. Speaking no Korean, she visits the adoption agency in an attempt to trace her real parents. While waiting for news, she kills time in pubs and clubs, picking up men for casual sex, much to the disproval of her new conservative Korean friends. The agency puts Freddie in touch with her real father, a repairman (Chan-wook Park regular Oh) who is anguished and repentant about giving his daughter up. His sentimental overtures to Freddie however make her uncomfortable. Two jumps forward in time evidences that Freddie’s homeland exerts a greater pull on her than she had anticipated. The second act in which we find Freddie hanging out in Seoul’s neon-lit demimonde bring to mind Wong Kar-Wai but without the swooning romanticism. Otherwise, the film errs towards the dour, but Park is excellent as Freddie, managing to illicit empathy for a character who can be selfish, and capricious.

David Willoughby

Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm