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Oasis of Now

Film still from "Oasis of Now" by Chee Sum Chia. You can see a woman outside in the shade on a staircase in sunny weather.
Still from OASIS OF NOW by Chee Sum Chia © theCommonist, Afternoon Pictures, Akanga Film Asia, La Fabrica Nocturna Cinema, Diversion
  • Director

    Chee Sum Chia

  • Malaysia, Singapore, France / 2023
    90 min / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language

    Cantonese, Vietnamese, Malayan, Mandarin, Tamil, Burmese

An apartment building in Kuala Lumpur that houses migrants. Hanh secretly meets with a girl who shares her ice cream with her. A familiar routine. Later, Hanh looks after a different girl, who is surprised when Hanh kisses her. No, she is not this girl’s mother. In each scene, the way this calm, polyglot woman is seen changes, ever present and active within the frame. Hands, again and again. Without complaint, she helps everyday life function better, washing up, tidying, taking out rubbish. Which of these households is hers? The film does not resolve its ambiguities and enigmas, feeding them back into the narrative instead. Hanh also seems to be lying in wait, evading attention. She is in constant motion on the stairs and open walkways of the building. Like the others here, she has no papers. She cannot provide for the daughter she brought with her from Vietnam. Bound to badly paid jobs and threatened by the police, at times she disappears into her dreams. This Malaysian debut makes no distinction between dream and reality and wanders through the spaces of an existence denied rights. The seemingly unremarkable Hanh, played by nail artist Ta Thi Diu, is its quiet star. (Christiane Büchner)

Chee Sum Chia, born in Malaysia. He attended the Asian Film Academy (Busan), the FIRST Training Camp (Xining) and received the Talents Tokyo Award in 2020. His short film High Way (2018) won the Jury Prize at the Busan International Short Film Festival. He is co-founder of theCommonist, a film and animation production company based in Malaysia and Thailand. Oasis of Now is his feature debut.

Production Yve Vonn Lee, Fran Borgia, Xavier Rocher, Chee Sum Chia. Production companies theCommonist (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Afternoon Pictures (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Akanga Film Asia (Singapur, Singapore), La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma (Paris, France). Director Chee Sum Chia. Screenplay Chee Sum Chia. Cinematography Jimmy Gimferrer. Editing Chloe Mun Ee Yap, Chee Sum Chia. Music Wei Yong Teo. Sound Chor Guan Ng. Production design Ivy Kah Minh Choong. Costumes Momo Woon. With Thi Diu Ta, Aster Ee Yeow, Abd Manaf Bin Rejab.

World sales Diversion

Films: 2018: High Way (short film). 2023: Oasis of Now.

Bonus Material

Director’s Statement and Interview

  • Film still from "Oasis of Now" by Chee Sum Chia. It shows a woman and a child on a concrete staircase. In the background, the sun is shining outside.

    Director’s Statement

    Chee Sum Shia on the apartment complex that forms the central setting of OASIS OF NEW
  • Film still from "Oasis of Now" by Chee Sum Chia. It shows a close-up of two hands on a concrete staircase.


    Chia Chee Sum in conversation with Barbara Wurm and Christiane Büchner about his debut film OASIS OF NOW

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur