7.7/10
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Burning (2018)

Beoning (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | 17 May 2018 (South Korea)
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0:55 | Trailer
Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.

Director:

Chang-dong Lee

Writers:

Jungmi Oh (screenplay by) (as Jung-mi Oh), Chang-dong Lee (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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118 ( 17)
27 wins & 97 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ah-in Yoo ... Lee Jong-su
Steven Yeun ... Ben (as Yeun Sang-yeop)
Jong-seo Jun ... Shin Hae-mi
Soo-Kyung Kim ... Yeon-ju
Seung-ho Choi Seung-ho Choi ... Lee Yong-seok
Seong-kun Mun ... Lawyer
Bok-gi Min Bok-gi Min ... Judge
Soo-Jeong Lee Soo-Jeong Lee ... Prosecutor
Hye-ra Ban Hye-ra Ban ... Jong-su's Mom
Mi-Kyung Cha Mi-Kyung Cha ... Hae-mi's Mom
Bong-ryeon Lee Bong-ryeon Lee ... Hae-mi's Sister
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wonhyeong Jang Wonhyeong Jang ... Won-hyeong
Seok-Chan Jeon Seok-Chan Jeon ... Seok-chan
Joong-ok Lee Joong-ok Lee ... Patrolman
Ja-Yeon Ok Ja-Yeon Ok ... Ja-yeon
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Storyline

Jong-su, a part-time worker, bumps into Hae-mi while delivering, who used to live in the same neighborhood. Hae-mi asks him to look after her cat while she's on a trip to Africa. When Hae-mi comes back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met in Africa, to Jong-su. One day, Ben visits Jong-su's with Hae-mi and confesses his own secret hobby. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Now Tell the Truth

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean | English

Release Date:

17 May 2018 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Burning See more »

Filming Locations:

Huam-dong, Seoul, South Korea See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,130, 28 October 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$703,744, 14 February 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paju, the hometown of Jong-su, is famous for its fog. According to cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong, there were many foggy scenes at dawn, but some were deleted because they came out so beautifully. Many of the scenes where Jong-su runs to search greenhouses at dawn were also deleted because the foggy landscapes were too beautifully shown. See more »

Quotes

Shin Hae-mi: Do you know Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert, Africa It is said that Bushmen have two types of hungry people. Hungry English is hunger, Little hungry and great hungry. Little hungry people are physically hungry, The great hungry is a person who is hungry for survival. Why do we live, What is the significance of living? People who are always looking for these answers. This kind of person is really hungry, They called the great hungry.
See more »

Soundtracks

Touch My Body
Lyrics by Black Eyed Victory
Music by Black Eyed Victory
Performed by Sistar
Played during the opening scene
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the best films of the year.
4 December 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"To me, the world is a mystery." Jongsu (Ah-In Yoo))

The protagonist of Burning is a naïve young Korean, Jongsu, shuffling through a life that gets incrementally more interesting in each scene but not passionate until pushed by a lovely girl or a slippery enemy. Then it burns.

As the opening quote signifies, Jongsu is a naïve but romantic sort, inarticulate when he is in conversation but soulful through his eyes. Daily he can be seen either in Seoul or tending the family farm in the town of Paj. Director Chang-dong Lee slowly sets up the subtle class conflict with two other characters, the three of whom create a romantic triangle that provides the heat Lee incorporates into a central fire motif. His influence by Faulkner's Barn Burning is alluded to in the film as both works emphasize the uncertainty of finding peace in a world that attacks his family while the family contributes to the lack of peace.

Meeting a childhood friend, attractive and aggressive Haemi (Jong-seo Jeon) after 16 years turns Jongsu more sociable but still introverted. The real mystery is what she wants in a relationship because her new friend, slick and manipulative upper-middle-class Ben (Steven Yeun), is interested in her as well ("He's the Great Gatsby," Yongsu says). It is confusing for introvert Jongsu to deal with his lust for her and to figure out Ben's complex motives. Jongsu also envies the Ben's carefree wealth. The three hander takes off when the three are jousting.

Director Chang-dong Lee keeps the slim plot going frame by frame until we have some idea many frames later that this film may turn out to be a thriller.

Jongsu is in an existential state of uncertainty, where he receives stimuli but gives little in return except to the cow and Haemi's cat, Boil, which doesn't materialize any time soon. The trial of his farmer dad in court provides insight into Jongsu's troubled family life and the contrast to that of the rich, suave, carefree Ben.

Additionally, an unreality motif prevails where Haemi may be telling the truth or making it up, such as with the cat or her childhood trauma. At least in the first part of the story before we begin to see reality biting its way into inexperienced Jongsu's life.

The importance of this Korean jewel of a mystery lies not in the plot but rather the psychological miasma of youthful fears and exploration, where life is a mystery because he is experiencing it now, as if he were creating his own identity minute by minute, and as if there was no history but family ties and the inchoate desires of a young man. Burning is an exemplary international film that should receive an Oscar nod.


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