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Past Films

Burning (In Translation Series)

  • Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun
  • Director: Chang-dong Lee
  • Language(s): English, Korean
  • Genre(s): Drama, Mystery
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 148 min.

This film is part of our In Translation series of recent foreign language films of note.

Beoning (original title)
The difficult life of Jongsu (Ah-in Yoo), a frustrated introvert, is complicated by the appearance of two people into his orbit: first, Haemi (Jong-seo Jun), a spirited woman who offers romantic possibility, and then, Ben (Steven Yeun), a wealthy and sophisticated young man she returns with from a trip. When Jongsu learns of Ben’s mysterious hobby and Haemi suddenly disappears, his confusion and obsessions begin to mount, culminating in a stunning finale.

"It's a great film, engrossing, suspenseful, and strange. "
- Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com
"It's a movie about men who simmer with anxiety, resentment, and creative desire, and how those feelings can boil over in unexpected and horrifying ways."
- David Sims, The Atlantic
"All three leads are sensational (Yeun turns yawns and soft laughter into nightmares), giving performances that retain a sense of mystery that dovetails with the movie's ambiguity."
- Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Behind the shell game of motives between the three main characters, there are subtle perceptions about class, youth alienation, and disposable people in contemporary Korea. "
- Liam Lacey, Original-Cin
"The whole film feels magical in the way it gets at intangible, invisible, ineffable things without naming them, and tells a gripping story of obsession at a poet’s pace, without need of conventional explanations."
- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"Like a brooding nightmare, Burning washes over audiences with passing visions of multiple lives, secrets and betrayals, all leading to no single, clean-cut or simple explanation. "
- Malik Adan, Film Threat
"Simmering with ambiguity, Burning plays its staging, writing, dialogue, acting, music, everything with carefully calibrated minimalism, but in turn it makes some grandiose statements. An unrecognizable murder-mystery Burning torches genre clichés and leaves a lasting, scorching blister. "
- Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist
"Burning is a character study that morphs, with masterly patience, subtlety and nary a single wasted minute, into a teasing mystery and eventually a full-blown thriller. "
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"This is despairing filmmaking, but also the kind that arrests the eye from its first moments. Lee has made something rare here: a portrait of poverty that treats its subjects not as victims or as aggressors, but simply as pawns of a far grander social scheme than any of them can possibly comprehend. "
- Dominick Suzanne-Mayer, Consequence of Sound
"This stunning, slow-build thriller from South Korean director Lee Chang-dong sizzles with a cumulative power that will knock the wind out of you. "
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"This is a beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights and observations into an understated triangular relationship, one rife with subtle perceptions about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge. "
- Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"Burning,... sways with a mysterious heartache. It's ostensibly a psychological thriller, loosely adapted from a 1992 short story by Haruki Murakami, but every plot turn burns with an existential sorrow."
- Jake Coyle, Associated Press

Showtimes

  • Friday, 1/25 tbd