The Night of the Factory Girls

여공의 밤

The Night of the Factory Girls

Geonhee Kim


At the start of the 20th century, when cinema was emerging, Korea was under Japanese occupation – a violent colonisation that lasted for forty years. Only very few films from this period have survived. In her debut, Geonhee Kim takes this as a starting point to search for images that reflect what is left out of Korean historiography: in film history, the urban history of Seoul and the Yeongdeungpo district, and in the stories of women who were forced to work. With steady and clear camerawork, the film captures memories and interweaves them with traces left behind by architecture, urban interventions and conversations. You have to listen carefully to see how the scars of the Japanese rule are etched into the memories of those who lived through it.

In the narrative, the hands of a former factory worker revert to the movement of forced labour for a brief moment. A ruined factory threatens to crumble among the holes in the corrugated iron. With a touching silent text in the image, we are left to find our own voice to tell the story. “Only the holes are left, the holes in the memory,” says the film-maker as she approaches the former factory building. Poetic fragments are brought into the present as relics of another time. The film thus becomes a document and turns us viewers into witnesses who will remember.

Guest: Geonhee Kim


Geonhee Kim


Seiyon Lee, Junhee Lee


Geonhee Kim, Sohyeon Park


Choseon Hong


Wonjae Song, Sueun Jeong


Cinema DAL

Portrait of Kim Geonhee

Geonhee Kim

Geonhee Kim studied documentary film at the Korea National University of Arts. In her short films, she dealt with Asia’s economic crisis in 1997 and other historical crossovers between individual memories and collective memory. The Night of the Factory Girls is her first feature-length film and had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival 2023.

Films by Geonhee Kim
Fortunately No One Knows Me 2018 | Dangsan 2017