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