Oasis (2002 film)

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Oasis 2002 poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised Romanization Oasiseu
McCune–Reischauer Oasisŭ
Directed by Lee Chang-dong
Produced by Myung Gye-nam
Jo Min-cheol
Jeon Yang-jun
Written by Lee Chang-dong
Starring Sol Kyung-gu
Moon So-ri
Music by Lee Jae-jin
Cinematography Choi Young-taek
Edited by Kim Hyeon
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Cineclick Asia
Release date
  • August 15, 2002 (2002-08-15)
Running time
132 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget US$1.5 million
Box office US$6.7 million[1]

Oasis (Hangul오아시스) is a 2002 South Korean film directed by Lee Chang-dong. The film's plot tells about the difficult romance between a mildly mentally disabled man who has just been released from jail after a two and a half year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and a woman with severe cerebral palsy. Starring in these roles are the couple from Lee Chang-dong's previous film Peppermint Candy; Sol Kyung-gu and Moon So-ri. The movie also shows how the two main characters are treated by their families and perceived by the people around them.

The film was a critical success, earning prizes in numerous film festivals. Among the most important were the special director's prize given to Lee Chang-dong at the 2002 Venice Film Festival and the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Emerging Actor or Actress given to Moon So-ri at the same event.


Upon his release from prison, Hong Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) goes looking for his relatives in Seoul. His brothers have moved and neither they and nor their mother are aware Jong-du is back on the streets after serving a three-year prison term for a hit-and-run accident. He quickly discovers that during his absence his family has moved without telling him. Oblivious to society's rules, Jong-du again ends up in police custody for non-payment of a restaurant bill. He is bailed out by his younger brother Jong-sae (Ryoo Seung-wan) and reunited with his estranged family who reluctantly take him back in. Slightly mentally disabled and an incurable social misfit, Jong-du is hired as a delivery boy for a neighborhood Chinese restaurant on the recommendation of his older brother Jong-il (Ahn Nae-sang).

In an awkward attempt at reconciliation, Jong-du seeks out the family of the man killed in the hit-and-run accident. He finds the man's son, Han Sang-shik (Son Byong-ho), in the process of moving out of the apartment. Sang-shik is leaving his cerebral palsy-stricken sister Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) behind to be cared for by the neighbors, while he uses her disability status to get a better and subsidized apartment where he pretends she is living. The family is horrified at Jong-du's intrusion and he is told to leave, but not before he has become intrigued by Gong-ju.

Jong-du decides to woo her by sending flowers and, while spying on Gong-ju's apartment, discovers where her house keys are hidden. Later, he lets himself in at a time when he knows she is alone. Trying to reassure and pacify the startled Gong-ju, he loses control and starts to impose himself on the helpless young woman, stopping only when she faints. In classic Jong-du fashion, he impulsively leaves his phone number in her room before he departs so that Gong-ju would know where to find him.

Fired from his delivery job after crashing the scooter, Jong-du is given the opportunity to work in his brother's auto repair shop, where he also sleeps at night. A couple of days later to his surprise and delight, Gong-ju calls him in the middle of night.

After a number of secret encounters and outings, several times nearly being discovered by Jong-du's brother or the neighbors, the two misfits become inseparable. Uninhibited and wanting to share her feelings with Jong-du, Gong-ju tells him how frightened she is of a shadow from a tree outside of her window that reflects on a picture hanging in her room. In his protective yet comforting manner, Jong-du promises Gong-ju that she no longer has to be afraid because he will make the shadows disappear by magic.

On their adventures outside of the apartment, the couple is faced with the harsh reality of a discriminating society but is comforted by the innocent sanctity of their shared love. When Jong-du naively brings Gong-ju to his mother’s birthday celebration, tempers flare, and viewers learn that his older brother was the actual culprit of the hit-and-run, though his family was glad when Jong-du volunteered to go to jail in his place. The last thing Jong-du's brother wants is for him to be socializing with a family member of the victim.

Wanting to feel and be treated like a woman, Gong-ju invites Jong-du back to her apartment where they make love. When her brother arrives on a surprise visit, chaos erupts. Jong-du is arrested and charged with raping a helpless, handicapped woman. Gong-ju's family makes sure that no one hears her side of the story. But in one final burst of passion, Jong-du escapes from the police and rushes to Gong-ju's apartment. The couple manages to reaffirm their love as Jong-du fulfills his promise of making the shadows disappear, by climbing the tree adjacent to her apartment and cutting the branches off, before falling and being hauled off to prison. In the last scene Gong-ju is cleaning her apartment alone, while Jong-du's voice is heard reading a letter to her, promising to come back when he is released.

Awards and nominations[edit]

2002 Venice Film Festival[2]
2002 Chunsa Film Art Awards
2002 Busan Film Critics Awards
2002 Blue Dragon Film Awards
2002 Korean Film Awards
2002 Director's Cut Awards
2003 Baeksang Arts Awards
2003 Seattle International Film Festival


  1. ^ "Oasis". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Oasis - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 

External links[edit]