Lee Chang-dong Lights Up Haruki Murakami Adaptation ‘Burning’

Top Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong has set “Burning” as the first film he will direct in eight years. The picture is an adaptation of the short story “Barn Burning,” written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami (“Norwegian Wood”) and first published in The New Yorker.

The film is to be produced by Lee’s Pine House, Now Films and Oh Jung-wan’s Bom Films Production. It will star actor Yoo Ah-in (“The Throne”) as one half of a mysterious couple whom a writer meets at a party. In the story, the man claims to be an arsonist, and last year Lee described the project as a mystery thriller.

“It is a story about young people in today’s world. When they think of their lives and this world it must feel like a mystery,” Lee said at the Busan festival last year.

The actress for the lead female role has not yet been finalized. Production starts later this month.

It had been set to begin in November last year, but was held up by a dispute between Murakami and Japanese broadcaster NHK, which owns the rights to many Murakami works.

Lee, who was also Korea’s minister of culture between 2003-04, has a stellar track record as a director of challenging art movies. He won the silver lion at Venice in 2002 for “Oasis” and the screenplay award at Cannes in 2010 for “Poetry,” his most recent film as director. His “Secret Sunshine” earned Jeon Do-yeon the best actress award at Cannes in 2007.

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