2018, Lee Chang-dong, South Korea

Director: Lee Chang-dong
Producers: Lee Chang-dong,
  Joon-dong Lee, Joon-dong Lee
Screenplay: Jungmi Oh, Lee Chang-dong,
  based on Barn Burning
  by Haruki Murakami
Cinematography: Hong Kyung-pyo
Editors: Da-Won Kim, Hyun Kim
Music: Mowg
Yoo Ah-in (Lee Jong-su)
Yeun Sang-yeop (Ben)
Jong-seo Jeon (Shin Hae-mi)
Kim Soo-Kyung (Yeon-ju)
Choi Seung-ho (Lee Yong-seok)
Sung-Keun Moon (Lawyer)
Min Bok-gi (Judge)
Lee Soo-Jeong (Prosecutor)
Ban Hye-ra (Jong-su’s Mom)

Rating: M violence, sex scenes, nudity & drug use Runtime: 148 minutes

The best Korean film ever made is… not Parasite. It’s Burning. With a Haruki Murakami story for bones, Burning – menacing yet casually told – adds fat aplenty, but doesn’t spell anything out for the viewer.

Oddjobber Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) lives a desperate but uneventful existence trying to keep his drunk father’s farm on the North Korean border going, until he runs into a former classmate Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-su). Hae-mi has been rendered both attractive and unrecognisable by plastic surgery that she probably can’t afford, and is dating the mysterious and impossibly-rich Ben (Korean-American actor Steven Yuen, last seen in Minari).  Jong-su’s interest in Hae-mi is easy enough to understand, but quite why Ben is interested in either of them, and quite where his money comes from and what his motivations are, are opaque.

Where blockbusters mine the Korean class system for fodder while offering no useful comment, this film, as its title suggests, is a slowly smouldering indictment on Korean society that happens to feature one of the truly great shots of its era.  We’re thrilled to share it with you.

“Desire, ravenous and ineffable, shudders through Burning, the latest from the great South Korean director Lee Chang-dong… The story has the quality of a mystery thriller — somebody goes missing, somebody else tries to figure out why…” Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.


Jul 29 2024


6:15 pm - 8:45 pm