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Sori: Voice from the Heart ("Robot, Sori")

Quebec Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2016
  • 117 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection: Hong Kong International Film Festival 2016, Udine Far East Film Festival 2016

Sori-Voice From the Heart from Festival Fantasia on Vimeo.

For ten years, the loss of his daughter has tormented Kim Hae-gwan. Yu-joo’s sudden disappearance at the site of a terrible subway fire remains unresolved, as do the wounds from their fraught relationship at the time. Kim cannot let go, and continues his seemingly hopeless search, which brings him to a remote island. Alone on the beach at night, he witnesses something astounding. An American satellite has crashed into the sea, and when Kim awakes on the shore, he finds a functioning component. With some help from a scruffy tech geek he knows, Kim gives the device a voice and a name, and discovers that it has a purpose too — a remorseful quest much like his own. But the seekers are being sought, because Sori is an extremely important, and very classified, piece of technology…

A decidedly Korean twist on the robo-buddy genre, SORI: VOICE FROM THE HEART is part quirky comedy, part techno-thriller, and all the way through, a thoughtful meditation on grief, guilt and acceptance, poignant without slipping into cheap sentimentality. Lee Sung-min, a proven hand in supporting roles (catch his very different turn in THE PIPER, also at Fantasia this summer), takes on the lead here with aplomb as the worn-out, wound-up Kim. Heard if not seen is the co-star he plays so perfectly off of, Shim Eun-kyung (the star of MISS GRANNY and SUNNY) as the voice of Sori. Lee Ho-jae earned a pair of new-director awards for his 2009 debut feature THE SCAM, and now delivers on promise with this smart, inventive and empathic adventure.

— Rupert Bottenberg