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Burning (2018)

Beoning (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | 17 May 2018 (South Korea)
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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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Popularity
919 ( 29)
40 wins & 124 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 | Japan

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

Gross USA:

$718,991

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,347,353
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film was sold to more than 100 countries and territories at the Marché du Film in Cannes Film Festival. This include Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Greece, Poland and Turkey. 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 »

Connections

Featured in Conan: Steven Yeun/Corey Rodrigues (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Générique
Performed by Miles Davis
Courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music France
Played during the dance scene with a background of a sunset
See more »

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User Reviews

Soft Glass
7 May 2019 | by tedgSee all my reviews

Young South Korean filmmakers have a layered vitality one doesn't find anywhere else. Filmmaking is all about mapping what we have as cinematic conveyance to what we yearn for internally. That's the game, the expected contract between filmmaker and viewer. We negotiate that as we go, sometimes being outside the story as normal interpreters, sometimes inside the story filling in bits.

One way to go about this is for the filmmaker to trick the viewer when in internal mode to make assumptions that are later revealed to shock. A common technique is to tantalize with some erotic vision - easily cinematic - and later lead us into reviling misogynistic exploitive behaviour.

More nuanced is mixing realities between what we invent from what we are shown and what an on-screen sometime narrator does. This is rich territory for filmmakers willing to go there, and I think the more we experiment, the greater our vocabulary will be.

We are tuned to have an in-story interpreter. Our main character is a writer, and we are pointed to some books with metaphors that cross into reality.

We see him in the longish first act conjure narrative reality from sexual fantasy. Later, he literally writes what we presumably see, while sitting in the girl's apartment but outfitted for himself. The sexual tryst is still in the smell of the place.

We see his love interest go well out of our way to present the importance of (pantomime) living richly in a created reality. We have her describe the 'great hunger' for revelation, encountered in dance she describes and later demonstrates, in her own encounter in Africa - a trip likely never taken.

We have questionable memories. Is she genuinely the person who lived in the neighborhood when they were children? Is the father overcome by past roles he cannot escape? Is the newly recovered mother genuine? What role does plastic surgery play, once we see the 'makeup' scene at the narratively frugal end?

The referenced Gatsby story to those of us interested in these things, is rich with mixed fantasies from the writer and narrator. All the real action here is in the context of broadcast propaganda; the MacGuffins are neglected glass houses in a context where houses matter, and may even (dimly) reference quantum realities.

We never know who is conspiring with whom, who is imaginary and what motives are to be trusted.

So the art here is in transporting us into this folded space where we get destabilized, but not so much we lose our engagement. That's a major accomplishment in itself. Few can do it and most are Asian.

But we want the investment to matter. I want a part of my soul turned inside out to challenge me by the evoked inner me. Possibly, this failure is because I did not pretend to fall in love with the girl. The seduction did not overlap beyond the two young men, possibly because of culture, age and suspicion.


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