Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: SOL Kyung-gu; MOON So-ri; AHN Nae-sang; RYOO Seung-wan
Director: LEE Chang-Dong
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Hailed as the seminal film of the Korean New Wave, acclaimed director Lee Chang-dong's Oasistells the story of two societal misfits (the award winning Moon So-ri and Sol Kyung-gu) and their struggle to find love and accept... more »
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An unexpected and magical romance.
neon rebel | WhiteStone, NY USA | 10/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the toughest and most uncompromising love stories ever told, with the precision of a surgeon and brutality of a neutron bomb. It will be among my favorites at the end of the year.
It's the story of two mentally disabled, both of ignored and unwanted by their families and society, finding love and solace in each other. I would say more except it might ruin the experience for you, so you will have to take my word that it's great.
The story never becomes melodramatic like most Korean productions, nor does it glorify their disablements as a badge of innocence like so many Hollywood films (as Gump did). The film treats its subjects fairly without embellishment, and sheds light on the process of unwarranted societal prejudices. You might not like how the romance ends, but it is frustratingly real.
Both of the acting talents, re-united again from director's previous film Peppermint Candy, are truly impressive. Sol Kyung-gu gave his character more depth and layer than you would expect, and Moon So-ri is even more mesmerizing as the girl afflicted with CP. In several sequences, she has to transform into her imagined self right on screen without the aid of any effects, so her limbs and face return to their natural uncontorted state instantly, and for a few minutes we see her as the normal girl her mind projects. Those lyrical and fantastic moments are so simple and effectively touching that it's the very definition of cinema magic.
It makes almost all Hollywood romances (especially those with Meg Ryan) seem trite and insulting in comparison, and after this experience I can never sit through another one of those again. Oasis is one of the best, most unique, and most unsentimental romances ever filmed, and will remain one of the best kept secrets of cinema unless you dare to venture into the scary but wonderful world of foreign films."
A Very Different and Poignant Love Story...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 07/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even in Romeo and Juliet love is being brought to the audience through an agonizing tragedy where the two families disagree with their love. Director Chang-Dong Lee utilizes a similar tragedy in his Oasis where he enlightens the viewers of a much more contemporary issue where the two protagonists find themselves rejected by their own families. However, it is within the tragedy that humanity is given an opportunity to grow and show that love does reach beyond vanity and self-importance.
The opening shot displays an embroidered depiction of something resembling an oasis emerging from underneath the shadows of the night, as a tree outside throws its nightmarish shadow over the the embroidery. The camera finally reveals a small oasis in the middle of a desert with a Indian woman, a boy, and an elephant. This initial sequence continues for almost two minutes. A time that might seem like an eternity for introducing the title of the film. However, these two minutes will also bring to mind a different notion, which will disclose itself at a later point in the film. In addition, the film will return to this embroidery, as it represents the main motif of the film both literally and symbolically.
The film begins with Hong Jong-Du (Kyung-gu Sol) returning home on a bus with summer clothing in the middle of a freezing winter. Initially, Jong-Du's light clothing might imply that there is something wrong with him, and yes, there is something wrong with him. However, it is not his summer wear, but his social interaction with people that seems strange on a communicational level. He wanders home to find out that his family have moved without informing him about their whereabouts. Alone, Jong-Du drifts until hunger sets in and he gets in trouble with the law, which obviously is not the first time when it is revealed that he has just been released from prison. Fortunately, one of Jong-Du's brothers bails him out and brings him home, but it is not a dear homecoming for Jong-Du.
Every second of the film displays additional problems that Jong-Du has, and it is evident that Jong-Du suffers from some cognitive disorder. In an awkward and unwelcome visit of Jong-Du with the family whose father he accidentally killed in a car accident he meets Han Gong-Ju (Moon So-ri), the daughter of the deceased father. Gong-Ju suffers from cerebral palsy and is more or less stranded in her fathers old apartment, as her brother has found it convenient to leave her in the hands of her neighbor.
During the second visit to Gong-Ju, Jong-du breaks into her apartment out of curiosity. He talks with her and expresses his affection for her while leaving her his brother's business card with a phone number where she can reach him. Consequently, Jong-Du begins to express his desires for her by sexually assaulting her. It is with much difficulty one has to watch this dreadful scene, but it also further displays Jong-Du's inability to function on a normal level. She passes out while Jong-Du panics and runs away after having gotten her back to consciousness. From out of the blue Jong-Du receives a phone call. It is Gong-Ju who calls him and she wants to meet. This brings them through an unusual, yet tender love affair with respect, care, and affection where the embroidery on the wall comes into play.
The performances by Kyung-gu Sol and Moon So-ri are astounding, as they help elevate the film to the heartrending experience that it provides. This is the second time these two actors have worked together, as they both were in the terrific Peppermint Candy (2000). Here in Oasis they seem very comfortable with one another and this is essential for them to be able to pull off such terrific performances. Both give very different visualizations of their characters and they do so convincingly well.
Chang-Dong Lee depicts a loving tale through some amazing scenes where he breaks the boundaries between what is real and fantasy. It is in these fantasy scenes where the audience will find themselves bewildered to what is truly happening, but it must be magical happiness that is being expressed. The camera also reveals some stunning realism where the interaction between Gong-Ju and Jong-Du displays both their difficulties and how they cope with their difficulties in society. Through the combination of fantasy and realism Chang-Dong Lee expresses a genuine concern about the issue at hand, which suggests that all people have the right to love and feel loved."
A Very Good Human Drama: Excellent Acting!
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 01/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Oasis," is a very poignant film from director Lee Chang-dong. The film gives powerful acting performances by the female lead Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) and her counterpart, the male Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) which are both masterful. As the films narrative begins, Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) has been released from prison. Jong-du is a sociopath who is unable to hold a job and has been in prison three times: for attempted rape, drunkeness which caused an accident, and armed robbery. He decides to visit the family of the man who was killed by his brother. He took the rap for his brother in the accident which sent him to jail. However, the family is moving out when he arrives, leaving a seriously disabled woman [the husbands disabled sister] behind.
The woman is named Gong-ju (Moon So-ri). Moreover, Jong-du finds himself attracted to this woman, who can barely control her body: She has cerebral palsy. When he returns at a later date, however, a very disturbing event occurs [No spoilers: I will leave this for you to view]. However, even though this event by Jong-du is disturbing, Gong-du invites him back again. It is here that these two outcasts of society begin to develop a friendship. Yet, this relationship causes a problem with both of the families, as they do not want any scandal. The families and society have come to see their relationship as twisted and abnormal.
The film shows the happiness of these two unwanted members of society, yet it also shows [not tells] the unease of the two families who are now caught up in the lives of these two individuals. On one side is a man who is emotionally unstable, and the other, a woman who must deal with the harsh realities of cerebral palsy: where her life is one of isolation. Director Lee Chang-dong gives a very insightful film about two people who are socially shunned by the society they live in. And yet, the director allows the viewer to see that they are both content to be with each other, and to hell with society and its mores. These two people both appreciate being alive, and have found each other. This is a drama, and as such, may not appeal to those who are into action films. However, I liked it. [Stars: 4.5]"
Powerful Human Story, Surprising Romance
Susie Kang | Southern California | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The acting especially by the leads (Moon So-ri and Sol Kyung-gu) was fantastic; Moon's performance convinced me she was truly disabled. Also, the pace felt faster than it actually was. Beautiful cinematography, like so many Korean films.
I saw this in Seoul when it opened, with one native Korean friend and another Korean American who both loved it.
While I remain a little ambivalent about how a few acclaimed Korean dramas portray rape (e.g. Sibaji or "Surrogate Womb," 1987), this film was able to make the protagonists' disabilities secondary to the plot and not the focus. Sometimes difficult to watch, this movie wouldn't have been made in Hollywood, and it's definitely worth watching."