‘Burning’ Set as Korea’s Foreign-Language Oscars Contender

Burning Cannes
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning” has been selected as South Korea’s contender in the foreign-language category of the Oscars. The film had its premiere in competition earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

At Cannes it won the FIPRESCI Prize awarded by film critics and also the Vulcain technical prize for its art direction.

The film is an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” that was originally published in The New Yorker. It charts the rage and impotence of young people in the modern world.

A total of 10 films were considered by a committee formed by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), Other films shortlisted are known to have included “1987,” “The Spy Gone North,” and “The Fortress.”

“The film’s mature aesthetics and ethical contemplation that analyze the part of the Korean society that has not yet been explored, as well as its potential to be understood by the universal intelligentsia, were valued,” said KOFIC in a statement.

The film was released commercially in Korea in May and is set for release in the U.S. through WellGo USA on Oct. 26 in New York, and in Los Angeles from Nov. 2, with a nationwide release to follow. The dates build on momentum from the film’s appearance in the Toronto Film Festival, and the Vancouver, and New York festivals.

This is the third time that a film by Lee has been selected by Korea as its contender, following “Secret Sunshine” in 2007 and “Oasis” in 2002. Korea has proposed films for contention regularly since 2000. To date none has ever been shortlisted or nominated. International rights are handled by specialty sales agency Finecut.