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Oasis (2002)

Cast: Seol Gyeong-gu, Sol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri, more...
Director: Lee Chang-Dong, Lee Chang-Dong
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Lifesize Ent.
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Korea
Running Time: 132 min.
Subtitles: English
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Korean director Lee Chang-dong's drama begins on the day that Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu), a mentally handicapped young man, is released from prison. He is immediately arrested again for being unable to pay a restaurant bill, and his brother bails him out and sets him up with a menial job and a place to live. The crime that originally landed Jong-du in prison was a hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of an old man. One day he goes to visit the victim's family, and meets Gong-ju (Moon So-ri), the man's daughter, who has cerebral palsy. After a disastrous first meeting, the two begin an unlikely love affair that exposes the callousness and uncomfortable secrets of both of their families. ~ Tom Vick, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

thought provoking by Ultranova February 9, 2005 - 2:05 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This film took some patience as it unfolded. The stellar performances take time to develop, but I found myself more and more engaged by this unconventional love story (not one of my favorite genres). It is melancholic and bittersweet, and I found myself wanting to rage against the society and family that work so hard to keep these two characters apart. This is not the usual American pablum of "happily ever after". It dissects romance, and shows how love transcends easy definitions or understanding. If this film doesn't leave you questioning your assumptions about those that we label as "disabled" (and the place that they are relegated in Western society) you have a heart of stone.

Handicaps, Personal and Societal by talltale December 9, 2004 - 9:02 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
There are so many ways in which to approach OASIS that I'll dive right in with a warning: if the idea of watching two mentally and/or physically handicapped people having graphic sex sounds too daunting, you might want to avoid this film. On the other hand, if you're willing to grapple with the subject of the hugely handicapped and their place in society, add "Oasis" to your queue. I can't imagine that this film will make South Korea proud in any way, since the society it shows us is possibly the most uncaring and stupid (this includes family members, social workers, the police, religious figures, even diners at a restaurant) to be found in any country outside the third world. The populace may be equipped with cell phones, but in most other ways they seem nearly clueless about care and responsibility. I have not been to South Korea; perhaps the director exaggerates. Still, there must be some reason for him to show us all this--and to rub our noses in the sheer unpleasantness of it. When Hollywood tries this sort of thing, we get "The Other Sister" (decent performances but far too feel-good) or "I Am Sam" (which I haven't yet found the energy to tackle). Maybe you will be held aloft by the moments of fantasy (as the characters suddenly become normal) or the lovely notion, early on, of the light from a mirror's reflection seen as a bird or butterflies in the eyes of the young girl. These are sentimental touches, but they help lift us out of the debris. I'm glad I saw this film. It added to my knowledge of the world and made me consider again the place of the less fortunate. But two hours and ten minutes of this makes for very difficult viewing.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.58)
43 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2003
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
dark purple
best 15 gc-rented must-see films 4 "low-brow"

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