Burning

In his review, Bilge Ebiri compares this film to Under the Silver Lake - both are about obsession, sex and class. This is the far superior of the two. Steven Yuen is phenomenal as the embodiment of affluence and privilege - is there an undertone of the sinister, or are we just feeling the lead, Jongsu’s jealousy of Ben? It is difficult to sympathize with Jongsu - his reactions to everything and everyone around him seem so awkward, apathetic, and delayed. At one point he admits that “the world is an enigma to [him].” The film moves at Jongsu’s pace, providing one of many contrasts between poor, awkward and lonely Jongsu, and Ben’s rich, socialite, life of privilege. But for me, it was Haemi who resonated the most. A woman of imagination who tries to live on her own terms; sexually liberated, looking for travel and new experiences. Jongsu’s treatment of her is unforgivable to me - first the terribly uninspired sex scene, later calling her a whore... His concern for her disappearance seems rooted in only wanting what he couldn’t have, and in the idea of her, or of Haemi as object, rather than the real her. I was actively hoping he would never find her.

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