Birthplace Unknown by Junger, Karin
What happens if a 19-year-old girl, who was adopted at the age of four, decides to visit her native country to find out about her true identity? In Birthplace Unknown, acclaimed Dutch director Karin Junger follows her two adopted half-sisters as they return to Korea on an exhilarating, and at times painful, search for their personal histories. Birthplace Unknown beautifully portrays the challenges that adopted children are presented at adolesence.
Soon after the film?s success at IDFA and subsequent theatrical release, questions arose about Jungers ethics. Because she had researched her film thoroughly, she knew in advance what her sisters would encounter on their trip but did not share this information with them. Only after the films release did they learn about Jungers advance knowledge. The sisters expressed feelings of betrayal, and stories unfavorable to Junger appeared in the Dutch media.
Each year tens of thousands of young children leave their native countries for adoption in foreign lands and cultures. Although most of these children grow up happy and have much better prospects, stories often surface in the media of adopted adolescents who lose their way. Research (link) has further shown that adopted adolescents are more likely to need mental health treatment. While most adolescents have questions about purpose, meaning, and their place in the world, adoptees seem to be affected more profoundly by these issues.
Joris Ivens award 1988
Birthplace Unknown won the Joris Ivens award at IDFA in 1988, which is one of the most treasured awards for documentary films.
We apologise for the inferior quality of the stream. Originally shot on 35mm film, we encoded Birthplace Unkown from an old Umatic SP tape because all other formats had been lost. In 2007 we'll encode the Original 35mm version.