Cert: 15 Year: 2018 Length: 148 mins Language: Korean
Cinema Handout (PDF 109KB)
Score: 65.19% Attendance: 98
Boy meet girl, meets boy; nothing new there then. Or is there: what is going on underneath?
The South Korean film industry has become more and more important over the last few years, from the dramatic, almost horrific 'Oldboy' and 'The Host' to the beautiful and thought-provoking 'The Handmaid's Tale' and 'Poetry'. 'Burning' is the latest from the director of 'Poetry', so we are at the beautiful, thought-provoking end of the spectrum today.
Jongsu yearns to be a writer, but is looking after his father's farm. When he runs into Haemi - an old school friend he has not seen for years - he falls hook, line and sinker for her wistful love of life. He agrees to take her to the airport and look after her cat while she is off adventuring in Africa, but when she returns, she has with her Ben, a rich man who's job is "playing". As the trio spend time together, Jongsu is more and more unsettled by Ben, but are his fears justified or is he just jealous?
At one point "Haemi takes off her shirt and dances on the patio... Both Jongsu and Ben are frozen in their seats, as they watch her fluid gestures, her primal openness to the beauty of her own experiences... [Jongsu] fell in love with this part of her. Ben yawns again. By the end of the dance, she is in tears. Jongsu now knows that Ben is, apparently, an enthusiastic amoral arsonist. There's a serious and alarming sense of danger, only you can't really point to its source. The whole of 'Burning' feels like this" - Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com.
"Lee plays the actors off one another to create a compelling exploration of human nature. South Korea's official Oscar submission, 'Burning' culminates in a finale so astonishing that it will sear itself into viewers' memories for years to come" - Sonia Rao, Washington Post.
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