Lee Jong-soo, a peasant boy without a steady job, dreams of being a writer. One day he bumps into an old classmate, fun and cheerful Shin Hae-mi. She’s planning to travel to Africa. Though they haven’t seen each other for a long time, Hae-mi asks Jong-soo if he could feed her cat while she’s gone. Having already developed romantic feelings for her he immediately says yes. But disappointment awaits him: when Hae-mi returns, she brings along her new boyfriend Ben, a slick Korean businessman she met in Nairobi. An awkward love triangle ensues, and the awkwardness is heightened by Ben’s strange “hobby”. Suddenly Hae-mi disappears without a trace.
Renowned Korean director Lee Chang-dong himself wrote the script for this mysterious thriller. It is based on a short story by the famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, in whose work the line between fantasy and the real world is never clear. The same can be said for Burning.
LEE CHANG-DONG (1954, Korea) wrote and co-directed Park Kwang-Su’s To the Starry Island (1994) and wrote Park’s A Single Spark (1996). His own films have been screened and awarded internationally. From 2002-2005 he was South Korea’s Minister of Culture and Tourism. Now again making films and teaching directing and screenwriting, he and co-scriptwriter Oh Jung-mi took eight years to finish Burning, based on a story by Murakami.