South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong’s first film in eight years is an unconventional thriller based on Haruki Murakami’s Barn Burning, a 1992 work from short story collection The Elephant Vanishes.
It’s a dark and brooding tale, and it recently won the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes (and the highest acclaim ever recorded by the Screen International critics’ panel).
Burning tells the story of Yong-su, an introverted deliveryman who wants to be an author but needs a story. He gets his story in spades when he meets Hae-mi, a charismatic and imaginative young woman from his childhood. Passion briefly erpupts before Hae-mi tisses Yong-su aside for Ben (Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead), a rich and mysterious Gatsby-like playboy. As their lives become intertwined, the film deepens into a noirish psychological thriller in which themes of class, family, revenge, corruption and lust rise feverishly to the surface.