“...strange, deep, changeable and wise” (Variety)
|Freddie knows nothing of Korea, because she was adopted as a baby and taken out of the country. When she returns, almost on a whim, she doesn’t understand the language, the etiquette of soju drinking, the incomprehensible food, and the even more incomprehensible men. It is a Korea that is blandly modern by day but luridly neon by night. The search for her biological parents leads her to realise that it is often easier to speak to people across the world than across the table.
Cambodian director Davy Chou (who was himself born in France and did not visit his parents’ homeland of Cambodia until he was Freddie’s age)—explores the costs of living in exile in this slow-burning though often exuberant examination of rebellion and despair born of rootlessness. The film is lit up by the extraordinary performance of debut actress Park Ji-min, which was hailed as one of the highlights of Cannes.
“a moment as profound and moving as the penultimate scene of Return to Seoul speaks to the subtle power of writer-director Davy Chou’s storytelling and the portrayal by Park Ji-min …the movie’s culturally specific story of being uprooted and transplanted has universal resonance…It’s about solo journeys, heavy baggage and welcoming strangers—the stuff of life.” (Hollywood Reporter)
“Chou has the lightning rod of Park Ji-min’s performance to conduct an enlivening electricity right into the film’s core” (Variety)
“Like its central character, this film is unconventional, and at times abrasive, but it has a seductive, searching quality and a swell of melancholy which makes for an engaging, if unpredictable journey.” (Screen International)
“A beautiful portrait of a young woman torn between violently contradictory emotions and, subconsciously, between two countries” (Cineuropa)