It is a French film which takes place in Seoul, is dialogued in three languages (French, English and Korean) and which represented Cambodia in the race for the Oscars for “best international film”. Back to Seoul, the new feature film by Franco-Cambodian Davy Chou, presented at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in the “Un Certain Regard” selectionfeatures Freddie, an adopted Frenchwoman who returns for the first time to her country of birth, South Korea: “How can we get rid of this determinism, invent ourselves, deal with the contradictions that we carry within ourselves? She does everything to free herself, but her life will always be a struggle with that,” summarizes Davy Chou.
Freshly landed from Phnom Penh with his partner and their 3-month-old daughter, the filmmaker confesses with astonishment gradually realizing to what extent his film, shot in a country that is not his own, centers on a female character a priori distant from him. , finally tells it intimately.
A childhood in Lyon
Born in 1983 in the suburbs of Paris, Chou grew up in Lyon, where his family settled in 1988. His parents were still high school students when they left Cambodia in 1973, in the midst of the civil war and two years before the seizure of power. by the Khmer Rouge. His childhood took place at a distance from this country of which he knew nothing, with the exception of a few books on the genocide and the temples of Angkor, prominently displayed in the family library – and which he would never open -, and a few traditional dishes cooked at home, then in the Asian restaurant that his father opened in Sète in the 1990s.
Davy Chou discovered cinema as a teenager alone, then thanks to a film analysis workshop in the final year. But in this family of immigrants who bet everything on academic success, an artistic career was “unthinkable”. He then enrolled in a business school, while beginning to produce and direct short films.
In 2009, at age 25, he took advantage of a semester abroad as part of his studies to go to Phnom Penh. The six months in Cambodia extend into a year and a half. On site, Davy Chou created a video workshop and taught the basics of cinema to around sixty young people, street children and art students. He is also working on a project around a figure in his family who fascinates him: his mother’s father, Van Chann, a great producer of the golden age of Cambodian cinema in the 1960s and 1970s, mysteriously disappeared in 1969. .
Between ubiquitous past and uncertain future
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