TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding

  Newsletter

Sound Proof

Eun-Zi Kim

Austria

synopsis

"Sound Proof" is an espionage drama set in the late summer of 1968 when a senior, disillusioned KGB spy’s cover is blown. Given the choice of life imprisonment in England or to betray his fatherland, he chooses freedom, and is sent off with a bag of cash and a loaded gun.

After decades of perfecting how to go unnoticed and executing orders, Yako is free for the first time. On the run from the KGB, he hikes through the foothills of the French Alps and encounters a stray dog who teaches him to trust. A Bukowski-like, terminally ill American stirs in him the urge to live. The more he opens up, the more he puts himself in danger.

But Yako enjoys that thrill and gains something incomparable: love for a free-spirited, independent and outspoken woman of which, at the end of the journey, he is ready to deliver sound proof.

Most spy films portray the daily life of a spy or show how to become a spy whereas "Sound Proof" explores the inner life of a man who can no longer be a spy and who struggles to fill that void, which shifts the focus from action to the character’s development.

intention

While reading the novel I was mesmerized to “hear” Yako’s inner life and adopted the sounds into my script. "Sound Proof" starts very quietly, with the scene of Yako’s arrest being almost mute, in stark contrast to usual spy films. The sound mirrors the silence within Yako who learnt to be a shadow, to obey and to go unnoticed, i.e. a perfect spy. On the run, he breaths louder, speaks up, laughs wholeheartedly and when he feels alive, the sounds surrounding him are barely perceptible. The title "Sound Proof" stands for both, the isolated life that Yako led before and for his quest and longing for a genuine life.

Although the novel was written in 1969, it could not be more relevant! Watching the former KGB spy Yako struggle with his new situation, raises difficult questions in the subtext which make you reassess your own status quo: “Do I believe in what I do? Or am I chasing an ideal or passion that I may have had a long time ago?” After the first shock of realizing that he is stateless, hunted by his own people and alone due to his confined, covert life so far, Yako slowly recognizes that this could also be his chance of a real life. Through "Sound Proof" I want to suggest to the viewers that it is never too late to change and pursue a life worth living.

As for visual reference, "Sound Proof" is set in the late summer of 1968, starts in London and travels through the foothills of the French Alps and the Southern coast of Spain to Ibiza, at a politically charged time, when the hopes of the Prague spring have just been quashed, the hippie and civil rights movement is on the rise and Ibiza is a yet undiscovered refuge for artists and runaways. The tone of "Sound Proof" is inspired by René Clément’s Purple Noon and Jean-Pierre Melville’s "The Samurai" ("Le Samourai"), and is a homage to that era (of filmmaking).

The novel "Loaded Gun" was already adapted by Claude Pinoteau in "Escape to Nowhere" ("Le Silencieux", 1973). I have not seen the film but I was told that my approach is very different. "Escape to Nowhere" follows the novel’s action driven plot, whereas "Sound Proof" explores Yako’s inner life as an espionage drama with action thriller elements.

I finished the first draft of the script in May 2016 because I wanted to win over director Nadav Schirman ("The Green Prince", Sundance Audience Award 2014; "In the Darkroom", 2013; "The Champagne Spy", 2007). He is now attached as director and we are looking for a producer who would join us on the covert, life-affirming voyage across Europe of late summer 1968.

videos

An adept, disillusioned KGB spy betrays his homeland and while on the run discovers freedom.
5443-eun-zi-kim
Eun-Zi Kim

Scriptwriter

eunzi.kim@gmail.com