Directed By: Lee Chang-Dong

Produced By:

  • Lee Joon-Dong
  • Lee Chang-Dong

Release Date:

  • May 16, 2018 (Cannes)
  • May 17, 2018 (South Korea)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller


  • Yoo Ah-in
  • Steven Yeun
  • Jeon Jong-seo


  • Yoo Ah-in as Lee Jong-su
  • Steven Yeun as Ben
  • Jeon Jong-seo as Shin Hae-mi
  • Kim Soo-Kyung as Yeon-ju
  • Choi Seung-ho as Lee Yong-seok
  • Lee Joong-ok as Patrolman
  • Moon Sung-keun as Lawyer
  • Min Bok-gi  as Judge
  • Ban Hye-ra as Jong-su’s mother
  • Lee Bong-ryun as Hae-mi’s sister

Country: South Korea

Language: Korean

Runtime: 148 minutes

Distributed By: CGV Arthouse


Lee Chang-dong co-wrote, produced, and directed the 2018 South Korean psychological thriller film Burning. The short tale “Barn Burning” from Haruki Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes served as the inspiration for the movie, which also draws inspiration from William Faulkner’s work.


In the movie Burning, a promising young artist named Lee Jong-su does odd jobs in Paju. At a promotion where he is delivering one day, he meets Shin Hae-mi, a former classmate and neighbour. Initially forgetting her, Jong-su later learns that she underwent plastic surgery from Hae-mi. Then, Jong-su recalls and presents her with a pink watch that he won during the promotion.

She then discusses her impending vacation to Africa with him and begs him to take care of her cat, Boil, while she is away. Before Hae-mi leaves, Jong-father, su’s a cattle farmer, is forced to deal with unpleasant legal matters, forcing Jong-su to go back to the farm. When Jong-su goes to Hae-apartment, mi’s he is given instructions on how to feed the cat and they later engage in sexual activity.


Even though he never sees it, Jong-su always feeds her cat after Hae-mi leaves. However, he is aware that there is a cat there since he discovers cat waste in the toilet. In her apartment, he starts to masturbate often. One day Hae-mi phones and claims that an explosion nearby caused her to become stranded at Nairobi Airport for three days.

She is accompanied by Ben, whom she met and grew close to throughout the situation, when Jong-su comes to fetch her up. After supper, the three go out, and Hae-mi talks about a sunset she saw while travelling. She breaks down in tears and admits that she wants to vanish. Ben is wealthy yet fails to provide a specific response when asked what he does for a job.

At Jong-farm, su’s the group consumes marijuana as Hae-mi does a topless dance. Ben reveals that his passion is burning an abandoned greenhouse every two months after Hae-mi has slept off on the couch. He remarks that there are many greenhouses in Jong-rural su’s neighbourhood. When asked when he will burn again, Ben replies that it will happen soon and near to Jong-home. su’s Hae-mi gets reprimanded by Jong-su for changing in front of other males. Ben picks her up, and they go in silence.

Burning (2018)

Jong-su keeps an eye on the area to see if any greenhouses catch fire, but none do. One afternoon, while checking an undamaged greenhouse, he gets a call from Hae-mi. The call ends after a few seconds of oblique sounds. When her phone number is disconnected, Jong-su becomes concerned since she isn’t returning any of his calls and starts looking into the matter.

In the movie Burning, in order to feed Hae-cat, mi’s he persuades the landlady to let him inside her flat. Hae-apartment mi’s is unusually spotless; her bag is still there, and no trace of the cat is visible. Jong-su starts to watch Ben’s apartment and follow him around to see where he goes.

He enters a restaurant to confront Ben when he spots his Porsche parked there. Ben maintains that he did destroy a greenhouse close to Jong-residence. su’s A young lady walks up to the table and apologises to Ben for being late. Jong-su queries Ben about Hae-whereabouts mi’s as the group of three depart the eatery, wondering whether he has heard from her.

Burning 2018

Ben claims that he hasn’t heard from her and that he doesn’t believe she’s taken a trip since she couldn’t afford it. Ben claims that Jong-su was the only one she could rely on, which caused him to experience jealousy for the first time in his life.

One day, Ben sees Jong-su waiting outside his residence and invites him inside, where Jong-su discovers that Ben has a new cat, which Ben claims is a stray that he has saved. In a drawer housing other women’s jewellery, Jong-su discovers a pink watch that resembles the one he had given Hae-mi while using the restroom.

Soon later, Ben’s cat leaves the apartment and Jong-su discovers that it goes by the name “Boil.”
In the middle of nowhere, Jong-su requests to see Ben and says he is with Hae-mi. Ben is fatally stabbed by Jong-su when he notices that Hae-mi is not present. Ben’s body, automobile, and clothing are all lit on fire by Jong-su while also dousing them in gasoline and throwing them all into the flames. He stutters nude to his truck and starts the engine.