Burning (버닝) (2018)

  • May 18, 2024 | 5:00 PM - 7:50 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Director: Lee Chang-Dong
Language: Korean with English subtitles
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 148 min
Rating: M18


FIPRESCI PRIZE (Awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics)
2018 Cannes Film Festival

2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards

2019 Asian Film Awards 

2018 Grand Bell Awards


The first film after Lee Chang-dong’s hiatus of eight years sees the director return to his literary roots with a loose adaptation of the short story “Barn Burning” from The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami, with elements inspired by William Faulkner’s story of the same name.

This riveting psychological thriller centres around a working-class deliveryman and aspiring author, Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), who lives isolated from urban society in a lonely house on the outskirts of Seoul in Paju. One day, he runs into his childhood friend, Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo) who exudes a bubbly charm that draws Jong-su in. As Jong-su forms a subtle attachment to her, she unexpectedly introduces him to Ben (Steven Yeun), a stylish and enigmatic Gatsby-like figure whom she meets on a trip to Africa. Things start to unravel when Jong-su begins to believe Hae-mi is in danger after a series of unexpected events involving the mysterious burning of the barns. Here, Lee masterfully crafts a disorienting love triangle that simultaneously acts as a sharp critique of fragile masculinity and growing income disparity in neoliberal capitalist South Korea and its brutal effects on youth.

Burning is part of the film programme Retrospective: Lee Chang Dong. For the full programme, please click here

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