Director: lee chang-dong
eight years after important hit poetry, korean director lee chang-dong translates a completely brief and sector-century antique story by using eastern grasp novelist haruki murakami into some thing incredibly korean, distinctly contemporary (spoiler warning: there’s a news clip of trump) and extraordinarily lee chang-dong. But also: into something that fully captures the essence of murakami.
Lee jong-su (ah-in yoo) is an aspiring young writer who quits his menial activity to have a tendency to his incarcerated father’s farm (a storyline the film takes from william faulkner’s short story “barn burning,” after which murakami—as referential as ever—named his own tale). Jong-su encounters a youth acquaintance, shin hae-mi (jong-search engine optimization joon), who seemingly he interacted with just as soon as as a child via calling her “ugly.” anyhow, hae-mi’s all grown up and claims to have had plastic surgery; she and jong-su strike up a dating. It’s uncommon and unnerving: hae-mi is erratic and inscrutable, in all likelihood a compulsive liar, at the same time as jong-su can barely do extra than gape and breathe. However, lee couches this set-up in exquisite details and wealthy commentary. Spontaneously (as is her wont), hae-mi asks jong-su to observe her perhaps imaginary cat whilst she takes a experience to africa to study bodily (“small”) hunger and existential (”brilliant”) starvation. That’s not critical embellishment, that’s an actual plot-factor. Whilst hae-mi returns to korea, she—to jong-su’s suppressed chagrin—has a wealthy new boyfriend in tow. His name is ben, and he’s played as a bored but semi-joyful sociopath by steven yeun (who has in no way been higher). The way the movie’s story flows into uncharted terrain is a part of its spell. Some thing of a love triangle develops, a few disturbing idiosyncrasies are discovered (now not just about ben) and a few awful stuff takes place. Murakami writes about that which he can't grasp; he embraces the ineffable, breathing in and exhaling a cloud of unknowing. So, too, does burning, while additionally managing to provide us lee chang-dong’s signatures: visual lucidity and artful morality. It’s the uncommon symbiotic triumph among singular source fabric and singular cinematic imaginative and prescient. And at the same time as the movie is a sluggish-burn, it expands the that means of the term: you would possibly by no means quench the flames it sparks within you, flames that send fumes up and away to a thundering, obscuring cloud.