[EDITORIALS]And the 'Oasis' goes to . . .

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[EDITORIALS]And the 'Oasis' goes to . . .

South Korea finally has conquered Venice. The 59th Venice Film Festival closed Monday, and director Lee Chang-dong's "Oasis" won the Special Director's Award and the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress, two of the six top awards.

Only three months have passed since Im Kwon-taek received the Best Director award for his film "Chihwaseon" at the 55th Cannes International Film Festival.

We are thrilled that another Korean movie was highly praised at the Venice Festival, one of the three major film festivals in the world. We congratulate the movie's production staff.

We are particularly proud of "Oasis" because the movie is not in the tradition of most Korean films about Korea. It conveys the universality of international cinema, showing the unlimited potential of our films.

"Oasis" is a love story between a man, who is a released convict, and a disabled woman suffering from cerebral infantile paralysis. The man has nothing but a kind heart -- too kind to live in this merciless world. Through the story of the two social outcasts, viewers can ponder the value of innocence in modern society. In addition to the two major official awards, the movie also won the FIPRESCI Award, Cinema Verine Prize and Ecumenical Prize.

Moon So-ri, who stars as the heroine of the movie, was awarded the best young actress prize, becoming a "world star," and brightening the Korean movie industry's future.

Now is the time for the Korean movie industry to surge because we have bountiful directors, actors and actresses and investors who can improve productions. Korean moviegoers have became more passionate and refined. Mr. Lee, accepting his prize, said, "This is my oasis. I will drink the life-giving water that you have given to me and begin my journey through the desert with newly gained power."

We believe that "Oasis" won the awards not because the international juries were patrons of oriental culture or were giving advantages to a Korean movie or favoring the director. The awards were given because the movie was critically evaluated as a stellar production. Korean films will soon become leaders in the world's cinema.

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