“Return to Seoul” plays at the M.V. Film Center on Thursday, March 30, and continues the following week, as a 2023 International Oscar entry. This tale of an immigrant seems especially relevant to current social concerns. Directed by French-Cambodian Davy Chou, Ji-Min Park plays Freddie, a young woman who unexpectedly returns to her native South Korea from her adoptive French family.
Once there, Freddie decides to look for her biological parents. Along the way, she has many misadventures, as any immigrant might. She visits the Hammond Adoption Center for help in locating her birth parents. After a telegram, these parents refuse to meet with Freddie. Then Freddie’s birth father does respond to the telegram, and sends Freddie repeated calls and texts expressing his regret at putting her up for adoption.
Two years pass, and find Freddie working in Seoul for an arms dealer, sending telegrams to her birth mother on her birthday. When her mother responds, it is to tell Freddie that she doesn’t want to see her. Freddie continues to hear from her father, but she ignores his entreaties.
Another five years later, and now Freddie continues to work for the arms dealer, selling missiles. When Freddie travels with her boyfriend Maxime, she meets with her father, and finds him playing a touching song on the piano. After Maxime tells Freddie her destiny is to defend South Korea from North Korea, Freddie breaks up with him, and finds herself alone on the street.
Once again, Freddie reaches out to the Hammond Adoption Center, and as a result, her birth mother says she wants to see Freddie. They meet at the adoption center, and her mother responds warmly, giving Freddie her email address so they can stay in touch. Another year goes by, and when Freddie emails her at last, the email bounces back.
As the viewer learns, an immigrant like Freddie leads a complicated life, and is not always successful at finding her birth parents, as hard as she tries.
Information and tickets for “Return to Seoul” are available at mvfilmsociety.com.