Burning ★★★★

Can’t believe I missed this one in 2018. A film about how the absence of something can impact your life moreso than when you have it with you every day. Haemi’s pantomime scene is the key; her speech about how you need to embrace the absence of something in order for truly feel its power. Just like her cat, which Jongsu never sees but feels loyal to. Just like the greenhouses that Jongsu never paid attention to until he was trying to find the missing one. Just like his father, incarcerated. Just like his mother, runaway. Just like Haemi, vanished. Just like the African dance, working up “big hunger” for that which we cannot and never will truly know. 

More than tense I just found this movie to be profoundly depressing. A meditation on death and meaning, two concepts that are shown to be diametrically opposed with each other here. Meaning can be manufacturered in any movement or space, it is constantly in flux; truth exists in many forms, the emotional truth and the physical truth. Death, on the other hand, allows for no interpretation. It just is.

Clever, very well acted, but it’s like staring down into the void for two and a half hours. Which, by the way, was a little long with the void. Also I could have done without the boobs during that David Lynch sunset dance. Was okay with the initial sex scene though, its overall underwhelming impression really helped to set the bar for their ‘relationship.’ Great message in here about gender dynamics too but that’s a whole other Letterboxd entry. (Actually my buddy Veronica wrote an article that touches upon it if you’re interested!)

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