The Night Before the Strike + Q&A
Director: Lee Eun
Director: Lee Jae-gu
Director: Chang Younhyun
Director: Chang Dong-hong
Cast: Gang Neung-won, Go Dong-eop, Kim Dong-beom, Park Jong-cheol, Park Hong-gyu
Cert 12, 113 mins, 1990
Distributed by Myung Films Cultural Foundation
It’s 1988, and the post-Olympic Korean economy is booming. Factory workers at Dongseong Metal Engineering work day and night to meet demand. Fighting against low pay and hostile treatment, our main characters - the core group of workers at the forge welding department - maintain their solidarity, share their sorrows and watch each others’ backs. The group attempt to form a trade union, though in the process a conflict arises triggered by those who are afraid of potential consequences. To break their spirit, the company managers use devious tactics, recruiting a goosadae (literally company-saver) to spy, blacklist and intimidate the would-be union members.
The Night Before the Strike was the second feature produced by Jangsangotmae - a film production collective established in 1987 to help create an alternative cinema in support of progressive social movements. Despite the film being banned, a series of unofficial screenings across the country meant that 300,000 people were able to see it, ironically making it one of the most-viewed independent films of the time. Originally shot on 16mm, the Korean film Archive restored it in 4K, and the film had an official theatrical release in Korea on May Day this year, 30 years after its initial clandestine showings.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-director Chang Younhyun.