WINNER OF THE SILVER LION - 2015 VENICE BIENNALE
ART OF THE REAL, FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER, NEW YORK
DOK.FEST MUNICH DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
DOK LEIPZIG DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
BUSAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SEOUL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
"A moving work that probes the nature of precarity in relation to the conditions of labor for women across Asia, Factory Complex takes the form of a documentary but with a direct, lightly mediated, encounter with its subjects and their working conditions." - Venice Biennale Jury, 2015
"The images crafted to illustrate the hardships endured over the decades by female employees in electronics factories, garment-making sweatshops, call centers, grocery stores, airplanes, and elsewhere will haunt even those viewers not normally inclined to watch documentaries about labor conditions in Asia." - Los Angeles Review of Books
“Timely and important. Factory Complex powerfully illustrates how much reform is still needed.” - The Hollywood Reporter
Winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale, Im Heung-soon’s powerful documentary is an artful exposé that examines the nature of exploitation, and a lyrical ode to the female working poor. The film provides a rare insight into the world of working women and their ongoing struggle for rights, as hard-won changes are swallowed up by a rapidly modernizing society.
Factory Complex paints the details of the grueling, dangerous, and often abusive and humiliating conditions under which some “unskilled” female laborers in South Korea worked in recent decades during the country's economic modernization, while invoking hierarchical and patriarchal social dynamics. Through the testimonies of these women, the film unravels deep conflicts from rigid class structures, a highly concentrated private sector, and examples of blatant sexism that have spanned across decades and reached beyond borders.
The film also subtly questions our own complicity in these events. And as it progresses to look at labor issues in modern day Cambodia, and their chilling resemblance to those of South Korea during its factory boom in the preceding decades, it suggests that the cycle of exploitation is alive and well and soon to be repeated just out of sight.
92 minutes, in Korean with English subtitles. 2015
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