Cho Minjae has been doing manual work since the age of 16. Having worked at factories in Bucheon, Ansan and Gimpo, he realized that the physical labor of a nameless nobody isn’t properly valued and that his strength would slowly fail for nothing. So, he turned his attention to writing. As a novelist, he felt limited by language so started making videos, which led him to filmmaking. After quitting his job of seven years as a factory worker, he used his severance pay to write and make a film about physical labor. Tiny Light (2018) was his directorial debut, and now he returns to where he started with this latest attempt to create a film about the hard work of a nameless nobody.
Cinema Dal, established in 2008, produces and distributes independent films. Kim Ilkwon, both a producer and president of Cinema Dal, has produced feature films and documentaries including Possible Faces (Lee Kang-hyun, 2017), Night Flight (Leesong Heeil, 2014), White Night (Leesong Heeil, 2012), Bandhobi (Shin Dong-il, 2009), An Omnivorous Family’s Dilemma (Hwang yoon, 2014), and Milky Way Liberation Front (Yoon Seong-ho, 2007).
Hanbin takes a job in a factory, to prepare for a working holiday program, where he hears about Mike’s missing friend, Jen. Hanbin thinks little about it, and flies to Australia, where he learns carpentry from Kimberly, a furniture designer. On returning to Korea, Hanbin sets up a carpentry shop and gets help from Kimberly to sell his furniture in Australia. When he runs into Mike, who tells him that Jen is still missing, Hanbin decides to help Jen’s wife, Mary Ann. Hanbin and Mary Ann search for Jen but can find no trace of him. While Mary Ann waits to leave Korea, she stays at Hanbin’s mother’s place, and works illegally for a cleaning company. Mary Ann must learn to communicate at work through body language, while also trying to learn Korean until she can leave for the Philippines. Before leaving, she asks for some kind of gravestone on the mountainside where Jen disappeared as a memorial, which Hanbin takes care of. After moving back to the Philippines, Mary Ann runs a cleaning service and sometimes climbs a mountain to pray in front of her tree.