The Elephant Vanishes is a set of short stories written by Haruki Murakami with the idea of what the world would be like if everyone spoke whatever they felt. The title of the book is a play on the phrase “Elephant in the room”, where this book literally addresses the elephant in the room. No, Murakami was not talking about thoughts that go along the lines of “What time must it be?” or ” I hope he/she turned the gas off” ( Yes you! Make sure its turned off!).
The elephant in the room in Murakami’s head is more akin to the eeriest thoughts and the creepiest ideas that everyone has and refrained from expressing or acting upon.
One such short story is Barn Burning. A story about someone, who met someone, the latter someone dates someone. The third someone has an elephant in the room revealed scenario and the former-most someone has trouble dealing with the idea.
No names, no motive, no rhyme no reason it seems. Right?
The movie Burning by Lee Chang-Dong has a very different approach to this movie that many might like. The movie takes this minuscule story and turns it into a one of a kind piece thats worth every minute of your time.
**Spoilers in red**
What might knock your socks off is the use of names in the movie unlike the short story that seems to specifically refrain from using names for its characters. The subtle changes in the tone of the movie from the story will certainly not go unnoticed. The girl Hae-mi, has feline friend which ultimately helps the protagonist, Jong-su avenge her death.
Although certain deflections from the original story might be solicited, certainly changing the entire nature of the ending was unwelcome. Peppering new objects that Hae-mi owned gives it the mood of a detective movie.
The movie goes on to exploit the way every story by Murakami has its characters smoking either cigarettes or some green now and then. The entire scene felt a tad stretched, what could have been a 2 minute scene.
One could easily overlook the cliches in the movie given how fantastically shot the movie is. The acting side is strong, and the movie’s nomination for Cannes Best actress and actor award certainly support this fact.
The movie was even nominated for the Palme d’Or.
These nominations should be enough to prove the movies worth. This movie is a must watch. Enjoy!
IMDB gave it a 7.6/10 with 21000 votes. here.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it 94% based on 177 critic votes. here.
The Trailer is here.
One of the prominent tracks from the movie is by Miles Davis! Here.
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