Burning ★★★★★

Burning was my favourite film of 2018. The warm, tingling memory of how I felt leaving the theatre was all the convincing I needed to take the plunge into Lee Chang-Dong’s (admittedly brief) filmography. And thank Dong I did, because this guy is an easy contender for our most brilliant living cinematic voice. He’s a heavily humanistic, extremely intimate, often political filmmaker. And he never fails to ignite something within you; Be it thoughts swirling, emotions blazing; Maybe even a big, fat, scorching question mark.

This last line is most true for Burning. It’s a film that lingers. It’s never really escaped my mind, living rent free since that first frame flickered. Do I even ‘get’ what it’s about? Who knows. I’ve heard the theories; It’s taking a stab at millennial malaise. It’s a play on emasculation. Obviously it’s saying a few things about the socio-economic climate and class imbalance in South Korea. (Parasite who?)

I’ll be honest though. I couldn’t care less what it’s about when the how it’s about is this damn effective. It’s enigmatic, haunting and oh so seductive in its style. Smoulders in the detail, shrouds behind any explanation. Almost noir-ish. Had me in a goddamn daze both times and made me it’s little bitch. My first Lee and against all odds, still my favourite. One I can see myself revisiting religiously as the years roll on. And I don’t think I even have to mention my feverish excitement for whatever this flamin’ legend chooses to cook up next.

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