Everything must feel true

INTERVIEW. Malene Choi’s ’The Quiet Migration’ will have its world premiere at the Berlinale on February 17th, where she is nominated for the First Feature Award for debutants. We spoke with her about the film's theme, consistent style and unexpected departures.

’The Quiet Migration’ is about 19-year-old Carl, who was raised as an adopted child in the countryside of Denmark, where he bears a secret longing for his homeland, South Korea, and begins to feel the loss of not clinging to the Danish soil in the same way as his adoptive parents.

In the interview, Malene Choi emphasizes how important it is to her that the characters feel like real people. The lead role is not played by a professional actor but was cast on the street. The visual style is observational with long shots, and the landscape feels like a character itself – all in an attempt to transcend fiction, explains Malene Choi: "Everything must feel true as if it's a lived life that you're looking at".

At the same time, there are disruptions of this established style on both the sound and visual side, where magical elements or sounds and music out of context blend with everyday life. "There is something otherworldly present in the film, which not only works on the reality plane. That's to show that something in the main character is displaced," says Choi.

‘The Quiet Migration’ is Malene Choi's debut feature film and will have its world premiere in the Panorama section at the Berlin film festival on February 17th at 3:30 PM local time. Malene Choi is also nominated for the debutant award First Feature Award, which covers all sections of the festival.

Malene Choi wrote the script for ‘The Quiet Migration’ together with Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen. The film is produced by Maria Møller Kjeldgaard for Manna Film with support from the Danish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fund and the West Danish Film Fund in collaboration with DR.

The Berlin Festival runs from February 16th to 26th, 2023.