A vivacious high schooler is placed in a job training program at a call center and is slowly cut down to nothing until she commits suicide, galvanizing a police detective to peel back layer upon layer of exploitation to get to the bottom of her death.
South Korea's hypercompetitive capitalism is implicated in Jung Joo-ri (aka July Jung)'s gripping second feature Next Sohee. Inspired by actual events, this film opens with an optimistic, dance-loving teen (played by Kim Si-eun) just starting her mandatory school externship at a major telecom's call center. During her placement, she is subject to grueling expectations, abusive callers, and a practice that uses delayed compensation to ensure workers won't leave. The nation was shocked when the real-life girl upon which Sohee's story is based was found dead. But this tragic development is only the first half of the film. What follows is a procedural led by police detective Yoo-Jin (Bae Doona). She finds herself in an increasingly complicated investigation as she peels back the layers of exploitation that entangle vocational high schoolers all the way up to the Education Ministry. In the midst of this, she also seeks to uncover Sohee's humanity. The film's halves are counterpoised by two excellent female performances, each adding to the growing sense of dread that without societal overhaul, versions of Sohee's story can find itself again in Korean headlines. Last year, Next Sohee became the first Korean film selected to close the Cannes Festival and received a seven-minute standing ovation.
- Original Language Title: 다음 소희
- Director: July Jung
- Principal Cast: Bae Doona, Kim Si-eun
- Country: South Korea
- Year: 2022
- Running Time: 138 min.
- Producer: Kim Dong-ha, Kim Ji-yeon
- Screenplay: July Jung
- Cinematographers: Kim Il-Yeon
- Editors: Lee Young-lim, Han Ji-youn
- Music: Jang Young-gyu, Choi Tae-hyun
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Fantasia Film Festival 2022 (Best Director)
- Filmography: A Girl at My Door (2014)
- Language: Korean
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- International Sales: Finecut Co., Ltd