The Return

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Denmark | 2018 | 85 minutes | Malene Choi

In this unique combination of drama and documentary, two Danish-Korean adoptees return to their native country of South Korea for the first time to find out more about their origins. An immersive experience based in part on director Malene Choi Jensen's own personal experiences.

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A pervasive sense of longing and questions of identity compose this genre-defying film about two Danish-Korean adoptees seeking answers about their birth parents. In an utterly entrancing feature debut, director Malene Choi Jensen uses several details from her own life as the film's source material. Karoline and Thomas meet at a house for adopted Korean children either visiting or in search of their families as adults. Soon, they're off visiting adoptive agencies, researching names, and questioning locals, and led to small islands off the coast in search of Karoline's mother, only to meet dead ends. In many ways, this new country feels completely odd and foreign to them, yet equally like home—as though they belong, even if they don't know how. Just when it seems their search might leave them in the dark, a beacon of hope appears. A quiet, well-mannered but emotionally stormy meeting ensues that only seems to provide more questions than any finality. Naturalist storytelling infused with interviews of real adoptees creates an immersive film experience entirely unique, neither a traditional feature nor a documentary.

Director Biography
Born in South Korea, Malene Choi Jensen has spent most of her life in Denmark. She graduated from The National Film School of Denmark's documentary program in 2005. The Return had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Sponsored by First Sight Productions

  • Director: Malene Choi
  • Principal Cast: Thomas Hwan, Karoline Sofie Lee, Seong In-ja
  • Premiere Status: US
  • Country: Denmark
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 85 minutes
  • Producer: Katja Adomeit, Julie Rix Bomholt, Julie Friis Walenciak
  • Screenplay: Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen
  • Cinematographers: Catherine Pattinama Coleman
  • Editors: Julius Krebs Damsbo
  • Music: Philip Nicolai Flindt
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Danish, Korean, English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Pluto Film Distribution Network