Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 6th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2002
Director: Chang-dong Lee
Writer: Chang-dong Lee
Cast: Kyung-gu Sol, So-ri Moon, Nae-sang Ahn, Seung-wan Ryoo, Kwi-Jung Chu, Jin-gu Kim, Byung-ho Son, Ga-hyun Yun, Myeong-shin Park, Kyung-geun Park
DVD released: August 10th, 2009
Approximate running time: 128 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99
Oasis was written and directed by Chang-dong Lee, whose other notable films include Peppermint Candy and Secret Sunshine. At the center of Oasis is a story about two individuals who are treated as social outcast by those around them. At the beginning of the film we are first introduced to Jong-du Hong a young man whose mind appears to be trapped in childhood. He has just been released from prison after serving time for a hit and run homicide. Without given to much away later in the film there is a remark made that leads one to believe that may be Jong-du Hong may have take responsibility for someone else’s mistake. Feeling remorse for the life he took Jong-du Hong visits the children of the man he killer while drunk driving. His is not greeted with open arms when he arrives to make his amends. Before he is chased away by the son of the man he killed he catches a glance of the diseased man’s crippled daughter Gong-ju Han. From this brief glance Jong-du Hong is quickly draw to Gong-ju Han, who on the surface is virtual invisible to those around here. Her own brother and his wife even get a nicer apartment meant from the disabled using her disability as a front. The more time that Jong-du Hong and Gong-ju Han spend together the further they step outside of their introverted personas.
What make this film so powerful are its two main characters Jong-du Hong and Gong-ju and the mesmerizing performances from Kyung-gu Sol and So-ri Moon, respectively. The subject matter at hand is told in a brutally honest way that may turn some viewers off. One scene that immediately springs to mind is a scene where Jong-du Hong attempts to rape Gong-ju Han who passes out on the floor. Some of my favorite moments are the scenes where Gong-ju Han imagines that she is no longer disabled and she playfully interacts with Jong-du Hong. The most gut wrenching moments are when scenes where Jong-du Hong and Gong-ju Han are being mistreated by not only strangers, but their family members who continually refuse to accept them as they are. Ultimately Oasis is an extraordinary film about finding love against all odds.
Third Window Films presents Oasis in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Outside of some instances where image the looks a tad too soft, this transfer looks pretty good as colors, flesh tones and black levels fare well all around. Even though this transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback the image remains stable as there are no excessive issues with ghosting / blurring.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Korean and removable English subtitles have been provided. There are no problems with any audio defects as the audio is always clear and balanced.
The main extra for this release is a thirty one minute making of documentary about the film that includes comments from the cast and crew. All the comments in this documentary are in Korean and English subtitles have been provided. Rounding out the extras for this release are trailers for titles currently or soon to be released on DVD from Third Window Films. Overall Third Window films gives, Oasis a strong DVD release that is on par with their other DVD releases.