Oasis

2002

Drama / Romance

6
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 7044

Synopsis


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1.12 GB
1280*682
Korean
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 12 min
P/S 4 / 31
2.06 GB
1920*1024
Korean
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 12 min
P/S 5 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ruby_fff 9 / 10

An amazing human story - insightfully illustrating how 'wrong' our points of view can be as we take things for granted, going about our daily lives, assuming we are (always) right. Truly an eye-opening film

I rated "Oasis" as a MUST SEE. Yes, it may be difficult to watch all those cerebral palsy twitching scenes, but focusing on the heart of the story, you shall appreciate as the story unfolds. It's an intriguing human drama needed to be told - to rouse the malaise and complacency of society. We are so prone to being judgmental of others, taking things for granted - we are actually quite full of it ourselves, thinking we are 'normal' while others - those who seem to us acting not to the 'norm' we see or feel, are labeled as 'queers' or 'misfits'. We can be so callous and literally 'blind' - not taking the time to pause, step back and see beyond the faces or empathize the possible feelings or needs liken to ourselves.

Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong's insightful film "Oasis" (2002), sensitively and sensibly gave us a chance to see the true state of being and what's possible between two persons that are socially shunned and dismissed as 'non-entity' to the everyday world we live in. Yet to Sol Kyung-gu's Jong-du (the "General") and Moon So-ri's Gong-ju (the "Princess" Your Highness), they created a world that they mutually shared - alone and together, unbeknownst to the community outside of their energized circle. The two of them are self-sufficient, contented within, appreciating every minute of being alive, gently nurturing and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

The two main actors delivered poignant performances of their characters. The writing by director Lee essentially facilitated the core drama. Actress Moon's portrayal of her character is astounding - brings to mind Daniel Day-Lewis' gut-wrenching performance in Jim Sheridan's "My Left Foot" (1989). Director Lee cleverly introduced segments where we see Moon's Gong-ju standing up, dancing around, singing and smiling in a non-spastic state. Such imagination is at once endearing and poetic, allowing us relief and pauses to entertain such thoughts along with her. Sol is just as amazing - beguilingly effortless in his portrayal of a simple-minded man (childlike if you will) yet entangled complexity reveals as family 'secrets' are picked up through the translations (thanks to subtitles by Tony Rayns - certainly provided clues to verbal interactions and plot progression). One wonders if Jong-du's three prior charges were somehow family 'endowed', conveniently using him since he doesn't care much one way or the other. Simple-minded he may be, uncomplicated by guilt, he is basically a kind-hearted and caring person. Subtle and simplistic, it takes talent and restraint to deliver this character, and Sol brilliantly complements Moon's Gong-ju. An unnerving powerful pairing.

There are sprinkled humor and we would smile and be just as delighted as the two of them. We get to see more clearly than the other people in the story: family members, neighbors, restaurant owners/customers, policemen/detectives. We feel the frustration when Gong-ju tried to express her side of the story - conveniently dismissed as part of her twitching agony. We worry for Jong-du when he doesn't speak up - then again who in the society's mind would believe a 'misfit'. We felt the helplessness - yet Lee ingeniously provided a logical and satisfying plot turn, even if it takes yielding to imagination - but why ever not (it could very well be providential). Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the two lovebirds: they are simple and content with themselves (without 'guilt' complex), gutsy and confident in their own way of communicating to each other (with exclusive personal word references) and clarity of purpose in the deeds they do (be it turning up the radio or being high up on a tree). They are happy in spite of what happens - knowing each would continue on with bright hopes and tender loving for each other in their hearts.

This is a worthwhile film embracing humanity. Life's too short to expend energy on being angry at others. It's human to make mistakes. If we gripe less and focus on the positive, reciprocate respect and kindness to each other, take the time to appreciate this world we live in - 'oases' we'd be in.

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10

What love truly means

We talk a lot about love in our society but often love is only acceptable to us if it fits our pictures. For example, the love of an older person for a younger, love between members of the same sex or between disabled individuals may make us uncomfortable and rejecting. Winner of five awards at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, Oasis, a film by Lee Chang-dong, stretches our comfort zone to the limit with a boldly unconventional portrait of the love of a mentally retarded young man for a woman suffering with cerebral palsy. The film is both emotionally honest and powerfully realized and will keep you pondering its implications for a long time. Moon So-ri's performance as Gong-ju is nothing short of astonishing. She goes through contortions to make us aware of the agony of her illness, but is never inappropriate or over-the-top. Her movements are spasmodic and uncoordinated and she appears to be in constant pain but there is a kindness in her face that allows us to see the person behind the pain.

As the film opens, Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) has just been released from prison and is freezing in his short sleeve shirt in the middle of winter. Jong-du is a sociopath who flaunts society's rules, unaware of or unconcerned with the consequences of his actions. Unable to hold a job and always on the edge, he has been in jail three times: for attempted rape, causing an accident while drunk (he took the rap for his elder brother), and armed robbery. On the spur of the moment, he decides to visit the family of the man killed by his brother and apologize. When he arrives, he finds a husband and wife moving out of their apartment, leaving the husband's seriously disabled sister, Han Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) for the neighbors to look after.

Jong-du is attracted to the disabled woman who seems barely in control of her own body. He returns for another visit but it sadly ends up in a disturbing sequence that is very difficult to watch. Surprisingly, Gong-ju invites him back once more and the two slowly begin a friendship based on their mutual feelings of isolation. He provides her with the closeness she desperately needs and she finds someone to care for, maybe for the first time in her life. As their relationship becomes known, both families are scandalized and, aided by the prejudices of society, transform the innocence of their love into something sick and twisted.

Oasis is a thought provoking film that does not stack the deck towards one point of view. It depicts the joy that the relationship brings to the lovers but also shows the understandable unease of the families about the fitness of a man who has demonstrated his emotional instability. The film shows the thin line between the desires of the individual and the needs of society and forces us to look at the disparity between the reality we see and that seen by others. While his ultimate message may be ambiguous, Lee makes us brutally aware that for many people life is a party to which they haven't been invited. Out of a willingness to have his characters confront the truth of a world that will be forever hostile, he offers a compelling vision of what love truly means and allows us to experience the oneness that defies reason and logic.

Reviewed by Killer-40 9 / 10

Destruction of love

At the beginning of the "L'Abri"-screening (which I discuss somewhere else) at the film market MIFED in Milano, CJ Entertainment's young sales responsible asked me: "Which Korean films have you bought?" - "All of them", I answered, to make a point: Korean's movies were just unbeatable in 2002. Then I confessed that I was actually a journalist, not a buyer. The young man surprised me with another question: "Did you cry at the end of 'The Way Home'?" - "No", I said, thinking of my grandmother, "actually I cried at the end of OASIS."

Movies should move viewers. No hight tech genre film can beat what goes straight to your heart. The love of a naive, warmhearted fool (Sol Kyung-gu as Jong-du) to a spasmic beauty (Moon So-ri as Gong-ju) that is unable to walk and clearly articulate herself is attacked by both of their families. It could be considered a love between handicapped and thus underline the demand for a change of law which seems to have its flaws in Korea as well as here in Germany. Prohibited is the unthinkable, i.e. the sexual demands of those who are stigmatised to not have them. The sad outcome of the events is lightened by the unchangeable affection of the male protagonist. Feminists might argue against the easy way in which the attempt to rape the spasmic woman turns into mutual love. The real challenge for the excellent actress Moon So-ri was indeed to transmit whether we see joy or pain in her wincing mimic. Have you ever asked yourself how a person suffering from cerebral palsy would look during orgasm? See for yourself. The elegant camera moves from the common theme of the movie to dreamlike scenes where all of Gong-jus illness is gone. Her dancing with a young elephant had the same non-intellectual humor as the tree-cutting of Jong-du. When the lights go on in your theatre, you might ask yourself how deeply YOU are able to love.

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