“Burning” crime without punishment
The strong presence of oriental cinema that presented the last 71 edition of the Cannes Festival was another great news to celebrate. Regular names like those of the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda and the Chinese Jia Zhang-Ke , as well as the emerging Ryusuke Hamaguchi , were joined by Lee Chang-dong . “Burning” is his return to the big door after eight years of absence of the Korean teacher. After winning the FIPRESCI Prize at the most important festival in the world, his new and superb thriller competes in the Official Section of the Sitges Festival.
What is it?
When he makes a delivery, Jongsu, a young messenger, meets by chance Haemi, a girl who lived in his neighborhood. The girl asks her to take care of her cat during a trip to Africa. Upon his return, Haemi introduces him to Ben, a mysterious man he met there. One day, Ben reveals to Jongsu a very strange pastime …
It has been one of the most anticipated returns of this new edition of the Cannes Festival. After “Secret Sunshine” (Best Actress at Cannes 2007) and “Poetry” (Best Screenplay at Cannes 2010) Lee Chang-dong and his usual co-screenwriter, Oh Jung-mi, have needed eight years of a meticulous and demanding process to finish “Burning” that adapts the short story Barn Burning Haruki Murakami , published for the first time in the New Yorker.
Who goes out?
Yoo Ah-in , face recognizable by its prominence in “Above the law “, debutant Jun Jong-seo and Steven Yeun (who we recently saw in Sitges as the protagonist of the North American “Mayhem” ) are its protagonists.
What is it?
A class struggle with a triangle of love.
What does it offer?
“Burning” has been confirmed as another of the official titles of the Official Section, another of the favorites to win the Palme d’Or. After eight years of inactivity, the South Korean maestro Lee Chang-Dong moves away from his unmistakable melodramatic stamp for embrace the incendiary thriller, thus adding a new record to his personal work marked above all by the dramatic and social reflection that leads to one of the great classical genres par excellence as is melodrama. Change of registration, but not style. In this case, the South Korean director embraces the short story of Haruki Murakami and takes it to his own ground to articulate a raging allegory about South Korea’s current society, a class struggle in which, as happens in most of the countries of the first world that are ruled by the monstrosity of capitalism, the lower class does not escape its condemnation while impunity is at the service of the benefit and rejoicing of the high. A conflict of universal character to which Lee Chang-Dong puts the shape and body of a love triangle. An enigmatic relationship with three bands that combines the romantic plot with an unpredictable character of intrigue to finally lead to a heartbreaking moral tale, in which we find two young unemployed and ultimately, helpless, at the mercy of a mysterious rich (that there is a moment of the film in which Jongsu uses the term Great Gatsby to refer to him says it all).
In short, “Burning” is the stark portrait of a society in which there is no place for goodness or rather, the good is corrupted and dynamited by the feeling of helplessness to which it submits an inherent evil that is not even aware of his pettiness. Plasmed on an absorbing cadence, a subtle directorial hand and a meticulous economy of resources, “Burning” does not spare a single second of footage. A merit that is even greater if we can be careful that its duration embraces the 150 minutes. Two and a half hours that link sublime nuanced scenes and that also contain another one of the most memorable sequences of the festival, a dance that agglutinates and symbolizes much of the meaning and meaning of this fascinating film.