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Oasis (2004)

Art House & International movie directed by LEE Chang-Dong

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This movie will accept you for who your are...

  • Dec 9, 2007
Rating:
+3
I must say the grace and beauty of this film left me speechless with its powerful portrayal of two outcast Koreans. One, a young man with multiple incarcerations and nowhere to belong, is wondrously portrayed by Sol Kyung-Gu, while the other performance is, in my estimation, perhaps the finest performance anywhere of 2002. So-ri Moon portrays a young lady with cerebral palsy who is basically abandoned by her family and left to fend for herself much of the time, except when they can manipulate the system for her subsidized apartment.

Moon's portrayal is so completely absorbing that it is impossible to not draw comparison to Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot." It is, without a doubt, one of the best portrayals of an adult with a disability in cinema. Moon captures the physicalization of her character so completely, so accurately that it is often painful and tiring to watch her. This, in some ways, is a "stick with it film." The first few minutes are quite challenging to watch as the viewers is forced to adjust to the constant spastic behavior, the difficult speech and the aberrant behavior of her soon to be beau.

A lot of viewers will cringe early on as the young woman is faced with a near rape by the man who grows to care about her, accept her and ultimately love her beyond what most would ever recognize as love. Watching the scene where he begins to assault her, then suddenly and rather horrifyingly recognizes his behavior is one of the most painful scenes I've ever seen in a film. The pain of both perpetrator and victim is pushed to the forefront and, in essence, becomes one. As the two become closer, the film deals powerfully with the taboos of society...the alleged impossibility of loving a person with a disability...of being sexual with a person with a disability. It is horrifying to watch the young woman's family...who had been so negligent and so abusive to her suddenly "care" about her now that she was being loved for the very first time AND able to love freely for the very first time.

The filmmaker made so many wise choices here...including the inter-mixing of scenes of Moon fantasizing about having a normal body and doing normal things and enjoying a normal day. These fantasies gave us a glimpse of Moon without disabilities...without a twitch or spasm or speech difficulty. While this may sound a tad judgmental, this "break" allows the audience to breathe and to fully appreciate the challenges that the character faces. Both sides are presented. In many ways, this is such a sad film...because there is so much truth within it. Every aspect of this production is outstanding from the performances to the cinematography. Before I end this I have to say Thanks Woopak on advising me towards this. "Oasis" is, indeed, a film of power and beauty, grace, and wisdom. It is, in my eyes, a "must see" foreign film.

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About the reviewer
Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Ranked #81
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie

Wiki

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 acceptance. Fate helped bring them together; family fought to keep them apart. The film truly is "a triumph...that gives humanism back it's good name (LA Weekly)."
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Details

Director: LEE Chang-Dong
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004
Runtime: 132 minutes
Studio: Lifesize Home Entert

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