Burning – Film Review

Based on a story by Haruki Murakami, Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s thriller Burning was the most acclaimed film of Cannes. Novelistic in scope, grandeur and impact, and featuring three brilliant performances, it’s a study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession.

While working as a courier in Seoul, aspiring young writer Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) encounters the lively Haemi (Jun Jong-seo), a childhood friend from his hometown. The two spend the day together, and when Haemi asks him to feed her cat while she’s away on a trip to Africa, Jong-su is convinced of a burgeoning romantic relationship. But on her return, Jong-su is surprised and confused to find Haemi accompanied by the handsome Ben (Steven Yeun).

The three begin an awkward friendship, with Jong-su’s feelings for Haemi growing ever stronger, as she falls deeper under the spell of the rich and mysterious Ben.

After Ben makes a strange confession, Haemi disappears. Jong-su sets off to find her, suspecting that Ben perhaps holds some key to her whereabouts.

Burning is unconventional in its structure. There is no neat resolution; its possible meanings will keep you wondering for hours after. The accompanying musical score adds haunting notes to the beautiful visual of the landscapes on screen.

Burning is screening now.

4 stars

About Burning

Directed by: Lee Chang-dong’
Stars: Yoo Ah-in, Jun Jong-seo, Steven Yeun

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