In the near-future of Phnom Penh, the wealthy indulge in advanced nanotechnology while the tight-knit community of Tralop Bek faces the threat of forced eviction. Thirteen-year-old Leng Heng, who experiences vivid dreams of his past lives, believes that he and his friends must locate a Buddhist statue to save their homes. They turn to Srey Leak, a neighborhood scavenger, for help and embark on a journey across town and into the past, following clues along the way. As Leng Heng’s dreams begin to converge with the present, his sense of identity starts to unravel.
With the realization that the stakes are much higher than they initially thought, the two friends must decide how far they are willing to go to uncover the truth and find their treasure.
Karmalink is a story that revolves around karma and reincarnation. The film begins with a man connecting himself to a machine and reciting the prayer, “I am born of my karma, heir to my karma.” The scene then transitions to a thief named Ros Mony, who steals a golden Buddha statue and buries it in a field after being confronted by a monk, Chear Sreng. Leng Heng has a dream about this event and becomes convinced that he had hidden and discovered the treasure over several past lives. Meanwhile, his mother, Sveng Socheata, is leading protests against the high-speed rail to China, which threatens to buy and destroy their community. Leng Heng’s grandmother, Savern Oum, participates in a memory study conducted by Dr. Sophia, played by Cindy Sirinya Bishop. In the community, the resourceful Srey Leak survives by scavenging and bartering with junk dealers, while her older brother Kosal, played by So Sokvan, fails to provide adequate support. Leng Heng and his friends, Ty, Mi, and Do, hire Srey Leak to assist them in their quest for the treasure.