After an impulsive travel decision to visit friends, Freddie, 25, returns to South Korea for the first time, where she was born before being adopted and raised in France. Freddie suddenly finds herself embarking on an unexpected journey in a country she knows so little about, taking her life in new and unexpected directions. Director Davy Chou, who was born in France to Cambodian parents, unveils his heartfelt sophomore film in elliptical acts spanning eight years. Guided by cinematographer Thomas Favel’s eye and Dounia Sichov’s masterful editing, we trail Freddie’s absorbing transformation from a woman navigating the meandering roads of nature and nurture to directions unknown. First-time actor Ji-min Park brings enormous intrigue to a character whose compass guides the film. RETURN TO SEOUL is a spectacular voyage for anyone in search of home or for eternal travelers who already know that it’s not the destination — it’s the journey.
“I stand before you now, insisting you see RETURN TO SEOUL…. It’s a gorgeous film, and Chou’s camera moves in a way that frames and heightens Freddie’s emotion. This is a mood piece, at times one with almost abstract aims, and it’s a joy to be swept away in it.” —Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“RETURN TO SEOUL is a startling and uneasy wonder, a film that feels like a beautiful sketch of a tornado headed directly toward your house.” —Amy Nicholson, Critic’s Pick, New York Times
“A film that's easy to love: it has a killer soundtrack, a magnetic protagonist, and a gorgeous cinematic backdrop filled with rich colors and empty bottles of Soju…. It proposes that in a world full of uncertainty, you must dive right in, over and over — taking with you everything that has been and everything that has yet to come.” —Teresa Xie, NPR