‘Burning’ heats up Oscar hype with host of global awards
Actor Yoo Ah-in plays the young delivery man Jongsu in the Lee Chang-dong film 'Burning.'
By Kim Young Shin
Photos = Pine House Film, CGV Arthouse
Lee Chang-dong’s film “Burning,” which was a candidate for the highest prize of the Cannes Film Festival in May, has earned a host of major awards from cinematic organizations worldwide.
Though it failed to win the Palme d’Or in Cannes, the movie did receive the Vulcan Award for art direction and the FIPRESCI Prize. On Dec. 9 and 10, respectively, it also earned the award for Best Foreign-Language Film from both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA).
“Burning is great, wonderful and strong,” said Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux. “It is a pure mise-en-scene, an act of cinema, a film which believes in the intelligence of the audience, something poetic and mysterious.”
“Burning” was also nominated on Dec. 10 for Best Foreign Language Film by the 2019 Annual Critics’ Choice Awards sponsored by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.
Such accolades are raising anticipation that the movie could be Korea’s first official candidate for next year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
“Burning” is also on the lists of 2018’s top 10 films of The New York Times, the French cinema magazine Cahiers du Cinema and the British Film Institute.
“One of the most beautiful scenes in a movie this year – in many years – comes midway through ‘Burning,’” said Times film critic Manohla Dargis, referring to the scene where Hae-mi dances in front of the two men outside a house in Korea’s countryside. “(It’s a) breath-catchingly lovely, terrifying movie.”
Based on novelist Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” the thriller depicts a series of mysterious incidents that happen to delivery man Jong-su and his longtime friend Hae-mi as they meet the cryptic Ben.
The film’s cast has also garnered the international spotlight. Actor Yoo Ah-in, who plays Jong-su, was named one of the year’s best 12 actors by The New York Times Magazine, and the lone Asian on the list. Steven Yeun (Ben) earned the award for Best Supporting Actor from both LAFCA and the TFCA.
Actor Steven Yeun, who plays Ben in 'Burning,' won the award for Best Supporting Actor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Dec. 9 (LAFCA) and the same honor from the Toronto Film Critics Association on Dec. 10.