Fearful Symmetry: The Films of Lee Changdong
Screening Dates
  • June 30, 2023 7:00
  • July 2, 2023 6:00

One of the year’s flat-out best films … [Bristles] with an ambiguity derived from the complex, irreconcilable nature of reality itself.”

Adam Nayman, The Ringer

Five years after its release, the mysteries of Burning continue to coil through the memories of those who extol its accomplishments. The film, co-written with Oh Jungmi, a film director and Korean translator of Russian literature, received the most votes of any Lee Changdong film in the 2022 Sight and Sound poll for the greatest film of all time. (It was also selected for our most recent Best of the Decade” program.) Built around a fatefully connected trio—aspiring novelist Jongsu, promotions gig-worker Haemi, and socialite and self-described player” of life Ben—Burnings tour through the courts, social strata, clubs, streets, and empty landscapes between Gangnam and South Korea’s northern border is, like in Antonioni’s Blow-Up, about as stable as the grain in a photograph. Look closely and you’ll see a murder, a carefully planned disappearance, or just a reflection.

In Korean with English subtitles

A tour de force of negative space and epistemological uncertainty.”

Dennis Lim, Artforum

Every moment [reveals] something unexpected … Is there anything more cherishable in a film than the moment when it breaks away from what its author seems to have intended and begins to have a life of its own, with its own impulses?”

Pierre Rissient

Redolent of the deliberate thrillers of Claude Chabrol … The pleasure of Burning is to watch Jongsu react in real time, processing behaviour, coincidences, and testimony, and after weighing the evidence, delivering his verdict.”

Josh Cabrita, Georgia Straight
Co-presented with the Korean Film Festival Canada