When “Burning” showed at the Cannes Film Festival back in spring, everyone assumed it would win Palme d’Or, it was that well beloved. A psychological thriller focusing on relationships and emotions in poetic and captivating ways, many critics were amazed when the South Korean film did not claim the crown. Now, with Oscar season coming up, “Burning” might have a chance for a little more gold.
Directed by Lee Chang-dong (“Poetry,” “Secret Sunshine”), “Burning” is South Korea’s Official Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film. If it is selected, it will be the first South Korean film to be nominated for an Oscar.
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Chang-dong certainly has the cred to back up the nomination. “Burning” was also shown just recently at TIFF 2018, will screen at the upcoming New York Film Festival as well, and of course Cannes 2018 where it won the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize. Before this picture, Chang-dong has had two other features chosen as South Korea’s Official Oscar Entry, and brought home the Best Screenplay prize from Cannes in 2010 with his movie “Poetry.”
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If “Burning” is chosen for the Oscar nomination, it’ll come with a familiar face. Korean-American, Steve Yeun will be starring in his first Korean film alongside Korean actors Yoo Ah-in and Jun Jong-seo. Known for his roles in “Sorry to Bother You” and “The Walking Dead,” Yeun was born in Korea but raised in Michigan, and his support of both American and Korean films reflect his diverse upbringing.
“Burning” is the story of Jongsu, a young delivery boy who encounters his old friend Haemi and realizes the potential for romantic feelings towards her. But when she returns from a trip with the handsome and wealthy Ben, the tension and dynamic between all three shifts, especially when Haemi disappears. Based on the short story “Barn Burning” by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, Chang-dong embraced the challenge of expanding on the roots of the writing to create a masterful piece for us all to enjoy. “Burning” opens October 29 via Well Go USA. Watch the intense new trailer below.