Seoul Searching: one summer to reconnect with their Korean identity
Personal yet universal stories tackled with both nostalgia and humor are often the best way to bring different cultures together and touch audiences from various backgrounds. And Korean American director Benson Lee achieved a perfect balance in Seoul Searching which had its European premiere screening at the Asia House Film Festival on Saturday February 27th at the Regent Street cinema.
While we had especially come to see the performance of the Korean drama actors Lee had casted for some of the key characters of the movie, we found ourselves laughing non-stop at the voluntary silliness of this bunch of teenage Koreans from all over the world, who each had a touching story to tell. Based on the experience of the director himself, the film really had a strongly felt authenticity, despite exaggerations here and there for comic purposes.
In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and controversies at the Oscars ceremony this year, Seoul Searching sheds a light on very talented Korean and Asian American actors who would deserve further recognition.
Cast is indeed led by Justin Chon – as the rebellious punk Sid -, whom we had discovered in the hilarious KoreAm webseries Ktown Cowboys, and who stars in the first original Viki webseries Dramaworld, to premiere in April.
It also includes three Korean drama actors:
- Cha In-pyo (jTBC’s D-Day, Netflix’s Sense8, SBS’ Endless Love) who plays Mr. Kim, camp supervisor and a former private tutor for elite Seoul kids who acts tough as to hide his deep guilt of pushing his son to hard, who committed suicide upon failing his entrance exam to Seoul National University;
- Kang Byul (Miss Mamma Mia, God’s Gift – 14 Days, The Fugitive of Joseon, Rooftop Prince) who plays Sue-Jin, a tomboy, whose hatred for chauvinistic men is reminiscent of a difficult history with her abusive father, who eventually falls in love with Mexican Korean playboy Sergio Kim;
- Choi Seong-guk (SBS’s Endless Love, MBC’s Mischievous Kiss) who plays Gangster Song, who threatens the boys as they escape to Seoul in an attempt of tasting its nightlife and after Sergio’s attempt to flirt with ‘his woman’ is noticed.
Other characters include German-Korean Klaus Kim interpreted by Teo Yoo, raised in Germany, who also attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Sarah Han, British-Korean raised in Wimbledon, interpreted by Britain’s Got Talent 2009 contestant Sue Son. There is also an appearance of American Idol 2012 and Kpop Star S3 contestant Han Hee-jun as a hip-hop gangsta.
If you have seen or haven’t seen the movie yet, which we recommend highly, we invite you to watch the hilarious match-up made by Esteban Ahn (aka Sergio Kim):