Burning

In Cinemas Now

Steven Yeun (Okja) co-stars in this Cannes prize-winning love triangle mystery from Korean great Chang-dong Lee (Secret Sunshine).

"While on a delivery, Jongsu (Yoo Ah-in, The Throne) encounters Haemi (newcomer Jong-seo Jun) who reminds him that they were neighbours as children. Later that day, the two become lovers, and when Haemi asks Jongsu to feed her cat while she’s away on a trip to Africa, Jongsu believes that they are to embark on a relationship. But when Haemi returns from the trip with a handsome, rich companion, Ben (Yeun), Jongsu is left confused and heartbroken. A strange confession, and Haemi’s sudden disappearance, thrusts Jongsu’s world into further disarray and he begins an increasingly desperate investigation." (Sydney Film Festival)

Trailers

Awards

Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize (Lee) and the Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist (art director Jum-hee Shin), 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Directed by

Written by

Drama, Mystery, World Cinema, Festival & Independent

148mins

Rating: M Mature themes, violence, sex scenes, nudity and coarse language

Korean with English subtitles

South Korea

Hollywood Reporter

press

This slow burn cooks.

Los Angeles Times

press

"Burning" is a character study that morphs, with masterly patience, subtlety and nary a single wasted minute, into a teasing mystery and eventually a full-blown thriller.

The Guardian

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This is a gripping nightmare.

The Telegraph (UK)

press

This is Lee's closest ever film to a thriller, but it defies expectations, offering multiple, murky solutions to a set of mysteries at once.

Variety (USA)

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This entire film is meticulously calibrated in its ambiguity, encouraging certain assumptions that neither the characters nor the audience can ever fully verify, so it's best to be on one's toes.

NZ Herald (Tom Augustine)

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Undeniably gorgeous, strewn with sequences of pure cinematic verve... The film's sweltering tension and commitment to its lack of easy answers is commendable, but less so is its treatment of women.

Vox

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It's gripping and unnerving, a noir-style mystery with no answers that goes in entirely unexpected directions (and harbors a hint of William Faulkner too).

Let them embers glow

Slowly and steadily - one immaculately written, precisely edited, and perfectly-acted scene after another - Burning chips away at our presumption of certainty with a velvet hammer of ambiguity. Without ever spelling anything out explicitly, we are always clear about what our protagonist, Jongsu, thinks and feels - but the story refuses to provide "confirmation" of any objective facts. Is what Jongsu feels justified? Is what he thinks correct? Did he really know Haemi in his youth? Was there a well in their village? Did she really go to Africa? If she has a cat, where was it hiding? And who was Michaela? The film turns what seems like the poignant story of an uncertain crush into an existential mystery. Just go with its unhurried rhythm - before you know it, you're hooked, suspended somewhere between intrigue, dread, and awe at how director Lee Chang-Dong has ensnared you so tightly with such a seemingly slight scenario. Subtle, moving, masterful storytelling.


Enter an Atmosphere

Haruki Murakami paired with legendary director Lee Chang-dong (.........). This film is definitely a slow burn, but when the fire is lit 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥.