Boy traces roots from Europe to Asia in Approved for Adoption
by Fabien Lemercier
Shooting is currently underway in Korea on French/Belgian co-production Approved for Adoption. This debut feature by Laurent Boileau and Jung Henin will be two-thirds animation and one-third live action.
Adapted from two volumes of Henin’s comic book Couleur de Peau: Miel (“Skin Colour: Honey”), the film traces the life of a Korean child who is adopted by a Belgian family. When he reaches adulthood, he decides to return to his native country for the first time.
Co-written by the directors, the film centres on Jung who was five when a policeman found him wandering the streets of Seoul. He is one of those 200,000 adopted Koreans, scattered across the world.
To resolve a deep inner conflict, he wants to return to the land of his ancestors and perhaps retrace his biological mother. This journey of reconciliation with his roots and with himself (filmed in documentary style) leads Jung to recall (in animation) the child he once was and the tortuous trajectory through which he grew up, until he met his wife, also an adopted Korean, with whom he has a daughter, now aged 14.
As soon as he arrives in Seoul, Jung sees himself as a child in the alleys of Namdaemun market, then he returns to the places known in his early childhood and read the archives at the Holt agency (set up by a wealthy couple of American Evangelists whose actions were seen as controversial) where he discovers his very brief adoption file.
Finally, Jung visits the demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea which reminds him of the history of his native country which became, in the space of a few decades, the main provider of adopted children for developed countries .
Approved for Adoption is produced for around €3.9m by Thomas Schmitt for Paris-based Mosaïque Films. The film’s budget includes co-production support from France 3 Cinéma and Belgium’s Artémis Productions, a €500,000 advance on receipts from France’s National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC), as well as backing from the Belgian French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre, RTBF, Wallimage, the MEDIA Programme and PROCIREP.
(Translated from French)
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