Burning ★★★★½

Are we able to relish a film's merits, despite being incapable of grasping it to the full extent? Do we have to get to the root of every microscopic detail, dissect their particles in order to obtain an ambiguous answer to our questions? Perhaps, it's just me trying to collect my thoughts after walking out of a psychotic maze. The repercussions are persistent, and in hindsight, there are as many different paths to a maze as to approaches in regards to Burning.

Not for a second do we leave Lee Jong‑su's side, and even when the camera echoes his inner ponderings frantically, he felt yet so distant and unpredictable. Lee Chang-dong creates engagement through our intrinsic curiosity rather than kinship, although this film occasionally perishes under its own puzzle I suppose; this overarching ambiguity, that characters too share amongst each other, makes this film sink deep into one's mind. Preposterous? Yes, at times; naturally elicited by Burning's odd blend between unsettledness and placidity. Discomfort is created - with the melodramatic and serene temper, the atmosphere feels like a veil of water and fire.

Strangely enough, Burning's prominent simplicity, manifesting in its stripped cinematography and acoustic companionship renders a sense of virginity and integrity, opposing the intricacy, most notably the obscurity of the story. Lee Chang-dong has no urge to give definitive answers; he lets events naturally play out based off of the characters mannerisms. It's a simmering process, walking past a conflict-resolving moment; instead, its pending presence which looms beyond the boundaries of the runtime has been engraved.

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