Oasis (2002 film)

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Oasis 2002 poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised RomanizationOasiseu
Directed byLee Chang-dong
Produced byMyung Gye-nam
Jo Min-cheol
Jeon Yang-jun
Written byLee Chang-dong
StarringSol Kyung-gu
Moon So-ri
Music byLee Jae-jin
CinematographyChoi Young-taek
Edited byKim Hyeon
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Cineclick Asia
Release date
  • August 15, 2002 (2002-08-15)
Running time
132 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$1.5 million
Box officeUS$6.7 million[1]

Oasis (Korean오아시스) 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 ​2 12-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 Silver Lion for Best Direction and 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. He is back on the streets after serving a three-year prison term for a hit-and-run accident. He discovers that during his absence, his family moved without telling him. Oblivious to society's rules, he 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 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 accident. He finds the man's son, Han Sang-shik (Son Byong-ho) is moving out and leaving behind his cerebral palsy-stricken sister Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) to be cared for by the neighbors while he uses her disability status to get a better subsidized apartment where he pretends she is living. The family is horrified at Jong-du's intrusion, but he becomes intrigued by Gong-ju.

Jong-du decides to woo her by sending flowers and discovers where her house keys are hidden. He lets himself in at a time when he knows she is alone. Trying to pacify the startled Gong-ju, he loses control and starts to sexually assault the helpless woman, stopping only when she faints. He leaves his phone number behind before leaving.

Fired from his 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, Gong-ju calls him in the middle of night. After a number of secret encounters and outings, nearly being discovered by their families or the neighbors, the two misfits become inseparable. Gong-ju tells him how frightened she is of a shadow from a tree outside her window. Jong-du promises her 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 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: his family was glad when Jong-du volunteered to go to jail in his place.

Wanting to 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 handicapped woman. Gong-ju's family makes sure no one hears her side of the story. In a final burst of passion, Jong-du escapes from the police and rushes to Gong-ju's apartment. The couple reaffirms their love as Jong-du fulfills his promise of making the shadows disappear by climbing the tree and cutting the branches off. He then falls and is 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]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2002 59th Venice International Film Festival[2] Golden Lion Oasis Nominated
SIGNIS Award Won
Silver Lion for Best Direction Lee Chang-dong Won
Marcello Mastroianni Award Moon So-ri Won
2nd Bergen International Film Festival Jury Award - Honorable Mention Lee Chang-dong Won
Vancouver International Film Festival Chief Dan George Humanitarian Award Won
10th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Film Oasis Won
Best Director Lee Chang-dong Won
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Moon So-ri Won
Best Screenplay Lee Chang-dong Won
23rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress Moon So-ri Won
3rd Women in Film Korea Awards Best Actress Won
22nd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Film Oasis Won
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Moon So-ri Won
1st Korean Film Awards Best Film Oasis Won
Best Director Lee Chang-dong Won
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Moon So-ri Won
Best New Actress Won
Best Screenplay Lee Chang-dong Won
3rd Busan Film Critics Awards Won
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
5th Director's Cut Awards Won
Best New Actress Moon So-ri Won
Cine 21 Awards Best Director Lee Chang-dong Won
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Moon So-ri Won
Best Screenplay Lee Chang-dong Won
2003 38th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Film Oasis Won
Best Director Lee Chang-dong Won
29th Seattle International Film Festival Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Moon So-ri Won
Brisbane International Film Festival Netpac Award Lee Chang-dong Won
Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema Three Castles Won
Gardanne Film Festival Audience Award Won
2004 20th Independent Spirit Awards Best International Film Oasis Nominated


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

External links[edit]