Tay’s review published on Letterboxd:
i think Lee Chang-dong put it best himself when he described Jongsu as a "Faulkner character living in a Murakami world." he was shorthanding to say that the quiet, growing rage inside of Jongsu is an anger once suited for a simpler world, where things that looked like reasons or answers were more readily available. the postmodern world that we find ourselves in, now, does not offer that same solace. there's an oversaturation of ambiguity, and searching for meaning only leads you closer to—?
Burning is about present absences, misremembered and fabricated memories, strange realities mixed up with almost-realized fantasies. surely, too, it is one of the most beautiful films to look at, navigating between a fast-paced metropolis and a lonely countryside. the three leads have a dangerous chemistry, making for a more complicated dynamic than a typical love triangle. they're still a triangle, but one that isn't so neat as she wants him, he wants her; this is about craving for pleasure and reason beyond any single body. it's about satiating an inexplicable, unnameable hunger, and fires that must be burned in order to survive the pain of an ordinary life.
part of me wants to sit longer to think about what happened and what didn't happen. part of me wants to know this or that did or didn't happen. but i already know it's not there: "it" never was; there never was going to be any consolation for my uncertainties. the mundane announces itself as both beautiful and full of sorrow. the duality is there in Haemi and Jongsu's first kiss, when Jongsu sells his cow, when the landscape reveals itself to go on forever, rolling blue and green, when the sky fades from light to dark, when the ember of a shared cigarette at last goes out. it's all there, just right there, and it's gone before you can grasp even an impression of it.