Burning ★★★★½

Based on Haruki Murakami (my favourite writer)’s short story, Burning is a tale of an aspiring writer - Jong-su who, one day, suddenly bumps into an old friend (Hae-mi). Hae-mi asks him to look after her cat while she's on a trip to Africa. She then returns with a mysterious man, Ben. When Ben visits Jong-soo, he confesses his own secret hobby.

Burning does not fall into the love-triangle category that you might expect but a stabbing dramatization of conflicts between human beings (Jong-su and Ben) , the oppressed and the oppressor / The poor and the rich – where anger and sadness are buried behind the exterior wall, laden with bemused looks, smirks and bored yawns. The smouldering tensions rub hard to spark up feelings that are repressed in a shudder of disgust, only to find a steaming release through the naked and rhythmic movement to Miles Davis’s entrancing ascenseur pour l'échafaud. Jealousy and resentment arise as soon as doubts start to creep in, leaving behind all the burning questions for viewers to chew on just like the protagonist running around, with stale breath, looking for answers.


Fuming with a quiet intensity and pot boiling ambiguity, this movie is a sadistic arsonist. Lee Chang Dong’s humane and dexterous touch of minimalism in establishing a character study seething with subtle rage, lights up an absolutely haunting bass and blistering pain that will ring deep to the very bones. The themes of social hierarchy, gender, paranoia, sexual desire and longing all gradually morph into an unutterable act of violence. Did that really happen ? Or did it not? The searing and symbolic “Beoning” might never respond to these questions but it’ll incinerate the entire human spirit for good. It is that lit🔥

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