Based on a Haruki Murakami short story, Korean master Lee Chang-dong’s remarkable new film, the most acclaimed of Cannes, is a gripping psychological study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession.

버닝 Beoning
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jun Jong-seo
Duration: 148 mins
Country of Origin: South Korea

MMature themes, violence, sex scenes, nudity and coarse language


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Burning

“Brilliant! Desire, ravenous and ineffable, shudders through Burning. The story has the quality of a mystery thriller, one accompanied by the drumbeat of politics. All three leads are sensational.”
Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

★★★★★
“Elegant and mesmerising. We are encouraged to both construct our own conclusions and to dismantle them at the same time. It’s chilling and brilliant.”
Wendy Ide, THE OBSERVER

“A triumph! A quietly riveting stunner. Morphs with masterly patience, subtlety and nary a single wasted minute, into a teasing mystery and eventually a full-blown thriller. The story’s slow-building pleasures are less about the haunting final destination than the subtle, razor-sharp microcurrents of class rage, family-inherited pain, everyday ennui and youthful despair that build in scene after scene. This is the most absorbing movie I’ve seen this year, as well as the most layered and enigmatic.”
Justin Chang, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

★★★★★
“A daring study of class conflict and sexual longing that blazes with mystery.”
Tim Robey, THE TELEGRAPH

“Masterful. Simmering with ambiguity, Lee torches genre clichés and leaves a lasting, scorching blister. Instantly captivating, intensely mesmerising, Burning surely ranks with the year’s very best.”
Jordan Ruimy, THE PLAYLIST

“Beautifully crafted, loaded with glancing insights and observations into an understated triangular relationship, one rife with subtle perceptions about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.”
Todd McCarthy, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

★★★★ 1/2
“A knockout! This stunning, slow-build thriller sizzles with a cumulative power that will knock the wind out of you. Lee ignites themes of family, class, envy, crime, rough justice and what Faulkner called “the human heart in conflict with itself.” With invaluable help from cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo, editors Kim Hyun and Kim Da-won, composer Mowg and trio of stellar performances, Lee has crafted a hypnotic and haunting film that transcends genre to dig deep into the human condition. You won’t be able to get it out of your head.”
Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

“Really extraordinary – it knocked my sideways. It completely captured me, took me into its world.”
Mark Kermode, BBC

★★★★★
“A film where every detail counts, so pay attention. A truly haunting piece of cinema, impacting on heart, mind and the very pit of your tummy. It’s gripping in the moment, but with plenty to take away for afterwards. Genius really isn’t too strong a word.”
Trevor Johnson, LITTLE WHITE LIES

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 ACADEMY AWARDS – Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER – 2019 ASIAN FILM AWARDS – Best Director
WINNER – 2018 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL – FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize for Best Film
NOMINEE – 2019 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS – Best International Film
WINNER – 2018 ASIA PACIFIC SCREEN AWARDS – Jury Grand Prize
WINNER – 2018 KOREAN ACADEMY AWARDS – Best Film
TOP 5 – NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW 2018 – Best Foreign Language Film
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2018 New York, BFI London, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide Film Festivals

Based on a story by Haruki Murakami, Korean master Lee Chang-dong’s remarkable new thriller BURNING was the most acclaimed film of Cannes, setting a record for the highest-ever score achieved in the 18-year history of Screen International’s prestigious critics’ poll. Novelistic in scope, grandeur and impact, and featuring three brilliant performances, it’s a gripping psychological study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession.

While working as a courier in Seoul, aspiring young writer Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) encounters the lively Hae-mi (Jun Jong-seo), a childhood friend from his hometown. The two spend the day together, and when Hae-mi asks him to feed her cat while she’s away on a trip to Africa, Jong-su is convinced of a burgeoning romantic relationship. But on her return, when he arrives at the airport to collect her in his run-down truck, Jong-su is surprised and confused to find Hae-mi accompanied by the handsome, Gatsby-esque Ben (a superbly enigmatic Steven Yeun, Okja, The Walking Dead). The three begin an awkward friendship, with Jong-su’s feelings for Hae-mi growing ever stronger, even if it’s apparent she has fallen under the spell of his rich and mysterious rival’s charms.

Suddenly, after Ben makes a strange confession, Jong-su is led to question his motivations and he sets off on an increasingly desperate search to uncover the truth, even if the line between reality and imagination begins to blur.

Anchored by a peerless cast, exquisite pacing and a pulsating original score by Mowg, Lee’s masterful film creates a tantalising mood of uncertainty and complexity, with the story’s themes of class, family, rage and lust rising feverishly to the surface. Teasing and noirish, BURNING is an impossible-to-forget big screen experience, and the best film yet from one of world cinema’s most internationally celebrated auteurs.

MORE…
“Burning – one of the year’s best films – explores the rage of Korean youth” -Writer/director Lee Chang-dong and actor Steven Yeun with The Sydney Morning Herald’s Stephanie Bunbury (12/04/2019).

“Director Lee Chang-dong and actor Steven Yeun on the profound mysteries of Burning” – Los Angeles Times (27/05/2018).

“Can Burning Get South Korea Its First Oscar Nomination?” – New York Magazine (26/10/2018).

“Lee Chang-dong on the Many Mysteries of ‘Burning'” – The Hollywood Reporter (12/12/2018).

“‘Burning’s’ haunting ambiguity leads to a deeper film experience” – Mr. Yeun with the Los Angeles Times‘ Gregory Ellwood (15/11/2018).

Burning