The Return


Two Danish-Korean adoptees visit their Motherland for the first time and are confronted with their own identity struggles.


Two Danish-Korean adoptees return for the first time to the country where they were born. Intrigued by the spirit of their motherland and confronted with the personal stories of the fellow adoptees they meet in Seoul, Karoline and Thomas are hurled into an emotionally disorienting journey that forces them both to question their own destiny and identity.

Operating in a hybrid field, THE RETURN is partially based on director Malene Choi's personal experience and on stories shared by adoptees that Malene encountered in Seoul while shooting the film.

'A significant international breakthrough'

'THE RETURN is a triumph of high-concept, low-budget filmmaking that makes skillful use of all the elements of cinema'

'Stunningly photographed and touchingly resonant'

'Unique and playful'

'As an ostensibly autobiographical work, it is a sensitive film that tackles the themes of identity and culture gaps'


'Choi’s debut feature explored the best and toughest bits of humanity with flair and aplomb'

'Malene has managed to achieve her goal and depict the uncertainty of a minority that has barely been in the spotlight before'

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Film gallery


Film presentation
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Director: Malene Choi
Genre: Drama, hybrid
Original title: The Return
English title: The Return
Country of production: Denmark
Year of production: 2018
Length: 84 min
Color: color
Shooting format: HD
Screening format: DCP
Original language: Danish, English, Korean
Subtitles: English

Cast: Karoline Sofie Lee, Thomas Hwan, Seong In-Ja
Scriptwriter: Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen
Director of photography: Catherine Pattinama Coleman
Editor: Julius Krebs Damsbo
Sound design: Anne Gry Friis Kristensen & Kevin Koch
Music: Philip Nicolai Flindt
Producers: Julie Friis Walenciak, Julie Rix Bomholt, Katja Adomeit
Co-producers: Mark Siegmund
Production company: Walenciak Film, Adomeit Film
Co-production company: Cine Everywhere
Supported by: New Danish Screen, Seoul Film Commission

Film poster

Festivals / Awards

International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands – Bright Future Award – Special Mention – World Premiere
Göteborg Film Festival, Sweden FIPRESCI Award – Special Mention 
Vilnius IFF 'Kino pavasaris', Lithuania – Competition of European Debuts
CPH:DOX, Denmark
Hot Docs, Canada
Film Fest Sundsvall, Sweden – Nordic Mid Competition 
Jeonju IFF, South Korea – Special Jury Prize
Diaspora IFF, South Korea
Flying Broom IFF, Turkey
Seattle IFF, USA – Documentary Competition
Edinburgh IFF, UK
Valetta FF, Spain
Brussels IFF, Belgium – European Jury Prize
New York Asian FF, USA
New Horizons IFF, Poland – New Horizons International Competition
Taoyuan FF, Taiwan
Sakhalin IFF, Russian Federation – Competition
Helsinki IFF Love & Anarchy, Finland
Hamburg FF, Germany – Competition for Sichtwechsel Film Award
Silk Screen FF, USA
Carbonia FF, Italy – International Feature Film Competition
São Paulo IFF, Brazil – New Directors Competition
Valladolid IFF, Spain – Best Film of Meeting Point Competition
London Korean FF, UK
AFI Fest, USA – New Auteurs Competition
San Diego Asian FF, USA
Cork FF, Ireland
Scandinavian House NYC, USA
Colorado Dragon Film Festival, USA
Female Film Festival, Sweden
Festival of Tolerance, Croatia
Ankara FF, Turkey
Singapore International Festival of the Arts, Singapore
Association of Fostered and Adoptive Families, Spain



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