About the film
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Actors: Jun Jon-seo, Steven Yeun, Yoo Ah-inBased on a story by Haruki Murakami, Korean master Lee Chang-dong’s remarkable new thriller BURNING was the most acclaimed film of Cannes, setting a record for the highest-ever score achieved in the 18-year history of Screen International’s prestigious critics’ poll. Novelistic in scope, grandeur and impact, and featuring three remarkable performances, it’s a gripping psychological study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession.
While working as a courier in Seoul, aspiring writer Jongsu (Yoo Ah-in) encounters Haemi (Jun Jong-seo), a girl who once lived in his neighbourhood. She asks if he'd mind looking after her cat while she's away on a trip to Africa. But on her return, when he arrives at the airport to collect her in his run-down truck, Jongsu is surprised and confused to find Haemi accompanied by the handsome, Gatsby-esque Ben (a superbly enigmatic Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead). The three begin an awkward friendship, with Jongsu’s feelings for Haemi growing ever stronger, even if it’s apparent she has fallen under the spell of his rich and mysterious rival’s charms.
Suddenly, after Ben makes a strange confession, Jongsu is led to question his motivations and he sets off on an increasingly desperate search to uncover the truth, even if the line between reality and imagination begins to blur.
Things are never what they seem. Or, perhaps, they are, and that's even worse to contemplate.
The performances here are extraordinary: Yoo Ah-in is as the gormless, bumbling Jong-su; US-based co-star Steven Yeun is exquisite to watch and startling newcomer Jun Jong-seo is a fabulous discovery (be mesmerized with her beautiful tangerine pantomime)
Underscored by a suitably spooky ambient score from Lee Sung-hyun (aka Mowg), it all comes together in a truly haunting piece of cinema, impacting on heart, mind and the very pit of your tummy.
Winner - Cannes International Film Festival 2018, FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize for Best Film
Winner – Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2018, Grand Jury Prize
Official Selection (South Korea) – Academy Awards 2019, Best Foreign Language Film
Official Selection – 2018 New York, BFI London, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide Film Festivals
Korean with English subtitles