Posted in Festival du nouveau cinéma, Film Festivals, Nouveau cinéma 2018, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Burning – film review – Nouveau Cinema 2018

Burning / 버닝 (2018)
Director: Lee Chang-Dong
Screenplay: Lee Chang-Dong, Oh Jung-mi
Cast: Jun Jong-seo, Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun

Next Screening on Sunday, Oct 14


In the city of Paju, a young man, Jong-su, who recently completed his military service encounters a childhood classmate, Hae-mi. She seems to like him but later starts dating a mysterious, affluent stranger named Ben whom she met on a trip. Jong-su soon suspects something sinister about Ben.


This is a slow-burn story with a bit of a thriller aspect. It focuses on its two young characters who are lower class without much of an idea what they will do with their lives. Youth unemployment is high and it’s probably not a coincidence that the antagonist is a rich person, a “Gatsby” as Jong-su calls him. There’ also a subplot with Jong-su’s dad who’s arrested for allegedly assaulting a government official.

One could say Jong-su has been unlucky in life and Ben, what little we know of him, is the opposite. It’s hard for me to say if each is meant to represent something more in a general sense. On the surface there isn’t really much that happens. The acting largely carries the film and builds the tension between the two.

Technically the cinematography is good with a variety of shots used. Music is minimal except for adding tension to scenes that warrant it. Overall, I don’t regret watching the film because it is well made but I can’t say that I think it’s anything special in regards to its story. There are clever bits here and there but it doesn’t really make the overall story more intriguing.


Longtime fan and reviewer of East Asian films. Formerly a short segment on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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