Oasis | Chicago Reader

Oasis

Skating fearlessly on the edge of tastelessness and sentimentality, this 2002 South Korean feature is another strong, provocative film by Lee Chang-dong (Peppermint Candy), an edgy tale about a dense jailbird and a woman with cerebral palsy who grimace, grunt, and thrash their way toward an awkward but affecting last tango in a dingy Seoul apartment. As it ranges through harrowing melodrama, discomfiting comedy, bitter jabs at bourgeois hypocrisy, and sweet, fleeting fantasies, it demonstrates the tonal elasticity and moral elusiveness that characterize much of the new South Korean cinema. Lee is a director of dogged force rather than finesse, and here much of that force comes from the fierce lead performances of Sol Kyung-gu (the blighted antihero of Peppermint Candy) and the remarkable Moon So-ri, establishing herself as one of the most intriguing talents around. In Korean with subtitles.

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