It is very difficult to figure out what is the root cause of the misery and the pain that people feel these days. The causes could be political, economic, it can have to do with economic inequality or gender-based inequality. I wanted the audience to experience that this in and of itself is a story and a movie, how the mysteries of the world can become the story, become the narrative, how a movie can communicate to an audience the mysteries of the world.
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Filmmaker: I was also curious about the casting of Steven Yeun in the movie. Was there a significance to casting an American star for that role?
Lee: Steven is well known in Korea as well. I thought the duality Steven already carries within him and the duality in Ben would meet up well.
Filmmaker: So was it partly also the image of him as a star, where the audience is bringing their preset ideas of who he is when he enters the picture? Lee: All those things are important when casting. The image the actor has and also the potential that they carry within that might not yet have been shown. And Steven especially, if you consider Okja, he has been in a Korean movie, but this one is more substantially his first, so I definitely considered that.
Lee: Even before shooting began I discussed a lot with Steven about the character, and fortunately Steven understood the character better than I had hope for. The fundamental reasoning behind his actions is that, and Steven understood that. We talked a lot about the balance that we had to hit on every shot, every take, every sequence, this tightrope walk.
That you could take each shot and go both ways, more in one shot than others, one way or the other, but in every shot you had to think about the balance. We discussed that a lot throughout the process. Within those several options there were some that went beyond the simple reasoning behind why he did what he did, but that had a more philosophical base. Not that we necessarily needed to communicate all that to the audience, but amongst ourselves we had those discussions.
Filmmaker: The Hae-mi character is also interesting and ambiguous. But in terms of the Hae-mi character, it was purposely constructed, the way that she is in the movie. Because depending on who she is, and why she is the way that she is, the interpretation of the entire movie can change.
The phone rings repeatedly at Jongsu's farm, but no one's on the other end. Just empty space and dead air. Images and motifs repeat, creating a fractal effect.
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Closets are important: each character has a closet containing secrets, mysteries a shaft of reflected light, a gleaming knife, a pink plastic watch. Fire is important: For Haemi, it's the fire that the Kalahari Bushmen dance around. For Jongsu, it is the bonfire of his mother's clothes in the backyard, one of his only clear memories from childhood. And for Ben, as he casually admits to Jongsu, almost daring Jongsu to be shocked, it's the greenhouses he burns down in his spare time.
Ben, smiling smoothly, his face telling no tales, nods. In one extraordinary sequence, Haemi and Ben drive out to visit Jongsu on his farm. The three sit out on the patio, get stoned and watch the sun set, the tree leaves rustling overhead, the light growing dimmer and dimmer. Haemi takes off her shirt and dances on the patio, staring off at the hills of North Korea, her silhouette undulating against the pink and purple glowing sky. Both Jongsu and Ben are frozen in their seats, as they watch her fluid gestures, her primal openness to the beauty of her own experiences.
Jongsu had seen this in her when she pantomimed the tangerine. He fell in love with this part of her. Ben yawns again. By the end of the dance, she is in tears.
Analysis Of The Poem ' Barn Burning ' - Words | Bartleby
Jongsu now knows that Ben is, apparently, an enthusiastic amoral arsonist. There's a serious and alarming sense of danger, only you can't really point to its source. The whole of "Burning" feels like this. It's hard for anyone to keep their thoughts straight; it's hard to believe what might be staring you right in the face.
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The tension between "what is" and "what isn't," started with Haemi's beautiful tangerine pantomime, is in urgent operation throughout. Things are never what they seem. Or, perhaps, they are, and that's even worse to contemplate.
The tangerine is delicious but it's invisible. It won't provide sustenance for long. The cat was never there. Haemi made it all up. Greenhouses don't provide space for things to grow, they just stand there in the fields waiting for the arsonist's match. This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr Reviews Burning. Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?
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