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BURNING Heats Up the Croisette with Unanimous Critical Acclaim

May 24, 2018
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
  • View930
LEE Chang-dong’s Latest Earns All-Time Best Score on Screen Daily’s Cannes Jury Grid



LEE Chang-dong’s highly anticipated sixth work BURNING premiered to enormous acclaim in the main competition section of the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, May 16. Starring YOO Ah-in, Steven YEUN and JUN Jong-seo, the film earned the highest ever score recorded on Screen Daily’s Cannes Jury Grid and has received unanimous praise from critics and viewers.

International trade publication Screen Daily conducts a Cannes Jury Grid every year, where they invite 10 prominent film critics from around the world to view all the films in competition and award them a mark out of four. BURNING scored a 3.8 average following its bow on Wednesday with eight of the featured critics giving it the highest possible mark, making it the best-scoring Cannes competition title in the feature’s history. 

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy related the richness and themes of BURNING, calling it a “beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights and observations into an understated triangular relationship, one rife with subtle perceptions about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.”

Performances all around also earned top marks. Variety critic Guy Lodge tweeted that “I don't see how a jury could *not* give Best Actor to Yoo Ah-in for BURNING: he's quietly magnificent,” while Indiewire called YEUN a “perfect fit for the role.” The Playlist’s critic Jessica KIANG tweeted (along with pictures of the cast of BURNING) that “these three actors gave the three best performances I've seen in a strong Cannes for acting, and they did it all in the same movie.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw was quick to point out the merits of the film’s technical contributions, calling BURNING a “superbly shot and sensuously scored movie.” LEE’s latest was shot by HONG Kyeong-pyo (Snowpiercer, 2013; THE WAILING, 2016) and scored by long-time KIM Jee-woon collaborator Mowg (The Age of Shadows, 2016).

Director LEE has participated twice before in the competition section at Cannes, with Secret Sunshine in 2007 and Poetry in 2010. Both of those earned prizes, with JEON Do-yeon taking home Best Actress for Secret Sunshine and LEE earning the Best Screenplay prize for Poetry, so many will be looking to Sunday’s closing awards ceremony in Cannes to see if LEE can make it three for three or even if he may vie for the top prize, the Palme d’Or, which has never been won by a Korean film.
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