Lee Chang-dong‘s Burning is mainly about an uneasy fraternal tension between Jong-su, a young, none-too-bright writer (Yoo Ah-in), and Ben (Steven Yeun), a rich, laid-back sociopath who drives a Porsche. Jong-su is intensely interested in Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), a pretty 20something he vaguely knows from childhood, and yet she’s totally attached to Ben, who has much more of a comme ci comma ca attitude about women and in fact about everything.
The poster image is from a scene in which Hae-mi impulsively disrobes and does a primitive dance in front of Ben and Jong-su. It’s interesting that the designer decided to focus on this one moment, which doesn’t feel like anyone’s idea of an “important” scene while it’s happening. And yet the silhouetted image sinks in.
From “Slow-Witted Protagonist Interferes,” posted on 9.3.18:
“Burning is a chilly Patricia Highsmith-meets-F. Scott Fitzgerald drama about class envy and resentment. It’s creepy, thoughtful and mystifying in a good way, and so it resonates and stays with you. But it’s a half-hour too long (148 minutes) and suffers, I feel, from an underwritten protagonist (Jong-su, played by Yoo Ah-in) who’s allegedly a writer but doesn’t talk like one, and who regards everyone and everything with a kind of dazed, open-mouthed stupor.
“Jong-su, Hae-mi and Ben became a kind of odd trio, hanging out and going to parties, etc. Around the halfway mark Ben casually reveals he’s into burning rural greenhouses, presumably as an expression of sociopathic contempt for the middle and lower classes. Then Hae-mi disappears, and Jong-su begins to wonder if Ben might have killed her for sport.”