Dongseong Metal employs over 200 impecunious workers at its production plant. One day, a new worker named Ju Wan-ik joins the Forging Team, and the team members welcome him with drinks and good cheer. Han-s...展开u, who is also a member of the Forging Team, longs to shake off the insufferable shackles of poverty. His dream, which he is determined to realize, is to work hard, save, and become rich someday. But to the management, the workers are mere machines that are unfortunately prone to breakage. Director Kim meticulously lays down his plans against the impending unionization of his laborers, and Han-su is recruited by his manager to stand on the side of the company.
"The greatest impact, achievement (and limitation) of the independent film community, which was born from the reform movement of the 1980s" (Kang So-won); "An extraordinary propaganda film that needs no further explanation"(Kim Dong-won) The Night before the Strike is the only non-commercial film among the 100 movies on this list, and it also appears on the list of 50 independent films. Although it is not a mainstream, commercial movie, it offers the most important clue to discerning how Korea's cinematic movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s and Korean society at large mutually influenced each other. From a formal standpoint, The Night before the Strike adheres to traditional, formulaic conventions. Some might even consider it an old-fashioned movie that adds sentimentalism to a thematic message about reform activism and there was, in fact, such criticism at the time. But it is also an undeniable fact that the film's propagandistic force stems from this very sentimentality. Whatever the case, the film's production, the government's efforts to suppress it, and the impact it had as it was screened at universities around the nation marked an important chapter in the history of the independent film community and, beyond that, of the entire Korean film industry.