It’s impossible not to be charmed on some level by Jung Henin and Laurent Boileau’s “Approved for Adoption,” though it’s best not to ask for too much. An autobiographical tale based on Henin’s graphic novel (the co-helmer usually goes just by “Jung”), the docu traces his path from Korean orphan to Belgian adoptee via a satisfying mix of animation and live-action. While his Belgian family’s motivations largely remain unclear, this voyage of discovery will provide throat lumps galore. Rainbow World recently bought North American rights, and is planning a theatrical run.
Henin was adopted in 1971 by a Belgian family with four kids of its own (more than 200,000 Korean tots have been adopted abroad since the 1950s). He was a classic problem child, mischievous and in search of an identity, exacerbated by the sense his adoptive mother didn’t treat him fully as one of her own. As an adult, Henin returns to Korea to investigate his background and come to grips with the feeling of not belonging. More info is needed (do his Belgian parents work?), yet the animation is pleasing, combining 3D figures and 2D backgrounds.
Approved for Adoption
A Cineart (in Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg)/Gebeka Films (in France)/Rainbow World (in North America) release of a Mosaique Films, Artemis Prods., France 3 Cinema, RTBF, Panda Media, Nadasdy Film, Radio Television Suisse, Belgacom production, in association with Tax Shelter Films Funding, Casa Kafka Pictures, with the participation of France Televisions, CNC. (International sales: Wide & Wide House, Paris.) Produced by Thomas Schmitt, Patrick Quinet, Nicolas Piccato, Nicolas Burlet. Directed by Jung Henin, Laurent Boileau. Written by Jung Henin, based on his graphic novel "Couleur de peau: Miel."
Camera (color/B&W, HD, 8mm), Remon Fromont; editor, Ewin Ryckaert; music, Siegfried Canto, Little Comet; art director, Jean-Jacques Lonni; illustrator, Jung Henin; sound (Dolby Digital), Dan Vanbever, Philippe Van Leer; animation, Dreamwall Studio, Videographic Center of France Television, Gazato Films; 3D animation, Christophe Devaux; 2D animation, Zoltan Horvath; associate producers, Sibylle Seys-Smets, Arlette Zylberberg, Jean Vercoutere, Nicolas Burlet, Nicolas Piccato, Jean-Luc Desmond; assistant directors, Thierry Czajko, Sanghoon Lee. Reviewed at Abu Dhabi Film Festival (competing), Oct. 16, 2012. (Also in Annecy Animation Film Festival -- competing; Turin Film Festival -- Festa Mobile.) Running time: 74 MIN.
Voices: William Coryn, Christelle Cornil, Jean-Luc Couchard, Arthur Dubois, David Macaluso, Maxym Anciaux, David Murgia, Alayin Dubois, Aaricia Dubois, Cathy Boquet, Jazz Marlier, Mahe Collet, Pauline Souren.
(French, Korean dialogue)