In this docu-fictional film, two Danish-Korean adoptees, Karoline and Thomas, separately return to the country they were born in to seek out answers about their birth parents, where they meet at a guesthouse for returning Koreans. As they each embark on their own personal quests for answers, they also begin seeking out the personal stories of fellow adoptees who they meet in the city of Seoul. Confronted with the spirit of their motherland as well as the frank and revealing personal accounts that they run across, Karoline and Thomas are hurled into an emotionally disorienting journey that forces them both to question their destinies and identities.


Operating in a hybrid field between fiction and documentary — based partly on director Malene Choi’s experiences and on the true stories of the other adoptees appearing in this film — The Return is a haunting and visually evocative examination into questions of self, place, and belonging. Directed by Malene Choi Jensen (Denmark, 2018)

“Based on the filmmaker’s own experience and that of many others she interviewed, the film registers strongly as a provocative mood piece about loneliness and belonging.” —Variety

About the Director

Malene Choi Jensen (b.1973) graduated from the National Film School of Denmark’s documentary program in 2005. Her fiction and documentary films have been shown at festivals such as Hot Docs, Göteborg Film Festival, Nordic Panorama and Venice International Short Film Festival.

Her short film Creature (2012) received the Danish Robert Award for best short fiction. The Return (2018), which had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, is her feature debut.



Photo by Catherine Pattinama Coleman

WED—February 20—7 PM & FRI—February 22—6:30 PM
$12 ($7 ASF Members)
93 min. In Korean, Danish, and English with English subtitles.