Burning ★★★★★

Haunting strings stalk your every move, pushing you onwards on this mystical, metaphorical mission; Mowg’s minimalistic score seems incomparably compatible with Chang-dong’s ethereal approach in which he says everything by saying nothing. Leaving you utterly bewildered by its conclusion, Burning sways like a fire left and right, and within these scorching flames that burn bright with longing and affection, you may see a yawn differently or a cat differently or a watch differently, but standing in front of this enthralling fire, you will end up different yourself.

On paper, it is an adaptation of a story by Japanese Haruki Murakami. Seeing it actualized, Burning steers clear of paths of certainty, and Chang-dong mixes the elusive short story with beats from Faulkner and, more importantly, his own directorial finesses. In doing so, the South Korean auteur has fashioned a film that feels seemingly everlasting in my mind, from when I saw it for the first time exactly a year ago to the very anniversary of my viewing. As I remarked in my original, short review, the film contains one of the most entrancing, transcendental scenes of cinema in which the spiritually starving Hae-mi sways soothingly from side to side, dancing her dance of the great hunger, while the music of Miles Davis lifts her from the flames of the earth to the traveling wind of the skies. Transported, for just a moment, to another world – one in which she can disappear.

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