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Review: Lee Chang-dong’s ‘Burning’ is a mesmerizing drama of rage, confusion and thwarted desire

Yoo, well known in South Korea, meets the challenge of expressing multitudes through a shy, fundamentally inexpressive character. Jong-su isn’t wholly withdrawn; in his private moments with Hae-mi, he’s capable of understated wit and a disarming emotional earnestness, but the spark goes out whenever Ben and his laughing, smirking friends enter the picture. In one piercing scene, he watches in helpless silence as Hae-mi, egged on by those friends, performs an impromptu dance in front of them, giving voice to an anguished vulnerability that only Jong-su can see.