As writer-director Benson Lee told me in an interview at Sundance shortly after his film Seoul Searching premiered, the movie was inspired by his love of John Hughes’ teen comedies. Like many of Hughes’ films, Lee’s film is set in the 80s, but instead of an American high school, Seoul Searching is about a group of foreign-born Korean teenagers that travel to Korea in an effort to learn about their heritage. The film is based on Lee’s own experiences as a teenager with the government-sponsored program.
While the film has a lot of characters, it mainly focuses on three boys–from Germany, Mexico and the U.S.–and the three girls that they get close to. As you might expect from a film set in the 80s, some of the characters are influenced by Madonna and the punk rock scene. While the entire cast was solid, I was very impressed by Esteban Ahn’s work in the film. He plays the Mexican student Sergio, who is obsessed with women. Almost every scene featuring Ahn had me laughing. The film also stars Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Byul Kang and Rosalina Leigh and is loaded with an amazing soundtrack filled with 80s classics.
To help promote the film, we’ve been provided with an exclusive clip that shows some of the guys trying to help out their friend while some of the girls dance to The Go Go’s. Check it out on June 17th in NYC, and in L.A. and other cities on the 24th.
Here’s the synopsis for Seoul Searching:
Seoul, 1986. A raucous gaggle of Korean teenagers spill out of the Gimpo Airport and onto buses that transport them to a location just outside the city. There, these high schoolers sent from all over the world—the U.S., Mexico, London, and Hamburg—are participating in a government-sponsored summer program to help them connect with their heritage. With a summer of partying ahead of them, they’re on a crash course to bring shame to their families, their ancestors, and their hosts—but with any luck, they might just figure out how to make friends, fall in love, and absorb some of their roots along the way.