peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 09 26 ReturnToSeoul

Return to Seoul (2022)

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A young Korean woman, adopted by a French couple as a baby, heads to Korea for a break on a whim. (We're told she'd usually go to Tokyo but the airline was unwilling.) In a series of episodes we're shown how her life goes as she becomes more entangled with her biological family (even as she tries to keep her distance from her father) and the dodgier parts of Seoul. Fun is had in how the various characters navigate the social politics in translation; sometimes English is what glues a relationship together. Somehow I really enjoyed it — it's not predictable or stale.

Director Davy Chou has extracted some great performances from his actors. Lead Park Ji-min bravely goes everywhere she's asked to. (I want to see her in a sequel as a Bond girl.) Thomas Favel's cinematography is often excellent with some nice framing of the mostly indoor scenes, though it doesn't reach the heights of Christopher Doyle's Hong Kong.

A Critic's Pick by Amy Nicholson. The dancing scenes were great. Peter Bradshaw. Broker also mines the adoption theme.