dani phosgene’s review published on Letterboxd:
There are no words to accurately describe the greatness of Lee Chang-dong's Burning. It's a puzzle both traditional and ingenious, personal and political, it's Lee Chang-dong's own L'avventura, answers or reality doesn't mean much for him, he makes you solve a puzzle with a half of the pieces missing, and let me remind you that the best kind of art is the one that only asks questions without giving any answers, leaving you not frustrated but excited about all the hours you will spend guessing and looking for answers. Burning is one of the most rewarding cinematic experiences I've ever had and I haven't even seen it in theathers. It uses a rather simple metaphor but the way Lee Chang-dong builds the entire film around it makes it worthwhile.
Burning is a like a great jazz constantly changing its rhythms, moods and themes, and like any great jazz does it unbelievably well. The scene with Jun Jong-seo mystically dancing topless in the sunset with Miles Davis' Nuit sur Les Champs-Élysées playing in the background only proves my point, this episode works intermission dividing the film into two chapters, this episode is in a way the sequnce on the island from L'avventura. Destruction in this film is a tool that is accessible for the privilidged class.
Burning transcends time and space like Hae-mi, it's shy and quiet like Jong-su and crucial and sly like Ben, Burning is all of those things but most importanly this film is about lonely people. I know from my own experience what it feels like to be Jong-su, to be an unnecessary extra in every company that consists of more than two people, what's it like to never fit, to never be able to find the right words to say in the right moment. Lonely people live and die, dance one day and the next disappear, nobody will notice or even remember them, nobody gives a slightest fuck about their destiny except for a very few people who would go insane over their departure. They're like old and abandoned greenhouses that no one uses or cares about anymore, burn them down and no one will notice but choose carefully for someone could unconditionally love this old greenhouse.