Darren Carver-Balsiger’s review published on Letterboxd:
Please read my original review of Burning to better understand this one.
No film makes me feel as insecure as Burning. Who am I in this world? The Gatsbys of this world, I hate them. But do I hate Ben through jealousy? Is my masculinity in crisis? I'm as lost as Jong-su, my life similarly doesn't seem to have a future. I could be him, but who is my Hae-mi? Last time I reviewed Burning I was ashamed of what I wrote. Not because it was sloppy, but because I felt I gave away my innermost feelings, even through the guise of analysis. In hindsight, it was the only response I could have to Burning.
Burning is a different film on second viewing, an even more mature experience. This film of threads that go nowhere makes you value each second when seen anew, peeling back never-ending critiques of society. This is a film of the struggles of youth, defined by pride and materialism. Beyond the universality of this shallow life of fakery, Lee Chang-dong explores specific facets of contemporary Korea, the debt, the unemployment, the beauty standards, the globalised cultural landscape. Lee also directs sex scenes better than any other living director, using intimacy as nothing but an inversion of loneliness. His camera lingers, his characters embrace, but the sex is simultaneously pathetic and fulfilling.
In the twilight, the great hunger rises. The need is there, the need for an answer. In the misty morning, run and look for burning greenhouses. Months past, mist lifts, nothing burns. So instead, burn for me. Or instead, burn me. I am the naked man running from the fire I didn't try to hide. Drive.