There are many remarkable things about director Davy Chou’s film Return To Seoul, but perhaps the most remarkable is his star, Park Ji-min, an artist without any previous acting experience. Park brings a memorable intensity to Chou’s volatile and vulnerable central character.
Chou’s film follows the journey of a 25-year-old French Korean adoptee, Frederique Benoit, as she lands in Korea and must decide whether to find her biological parents. At first she seems indifferent, more interested in soju shots, flirting with strangers and dancing her demons away. Yet it’s hard to satisfy her need for a sense of identity without meeting the parents who gave her away. Were they indifferent to her very existence?
Chou, director of Diamond Island, spent three years writing the script, which is loosely based on a friend’s story. Having accompanied Chou to a film festival in Korea, his friend at first expressed little interest in meeting her biological family. When she suddenly arranged a meeting, Chou accompanied her and found the reunion a moving experience. He’s familiar with the idea of belonging to two worlds, having grown up in France, the son of Cambodian parents, who escaped the Khmer Rouge regime. He only returned to Cambodia at the age of 25.