A film by Carmen Jimenez
After her husband’s death, Nieves begs to keep his job as her apartment building’s superintendent so she won’t lose her apartment, but she’s unaware she may be making a deal with the devil.
As an immigrant myself, I feel a very strong connection with the life of those who left their countries to seek a better life in the States. An opportunity that always comes with a sacrifice. When I started writing ‘Oasis’ I only knew that Nieves, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, would be the main character of my story. I wanted to portray the immigrant experience and the unfathomable breach that happens inside all of us who ventured away from our home countries.
It took me some time to find the other side of the story, the girl who lives trapped in one if the apartments, forced into sexual slavery and whose discovery poses a moral question on Nieves. I wanted to find a situation that would shake Nieves’ life and that would be difficult to act blind towards. Both Nieves and the girl are trapped, only in different degrees. And while Nieves still has a chance to decide, it’s the girl (because she has nothing to lose) the one who is able to make a decisive move in order to free herself.
New York is known to be beautiful, great, the best city in the world. But it is also a tough place to live in, and I wanted that to be part of ‘Oasis.’ When I wrote the script I drew from the loneliness I so strongly feel in New York. This is the most densely populated county in the US, yet a place in which I many times have felt nobody will be able to come help me if I was in need. Strangely enough, right before production and very close to my apartment in the Upper West Side, a prostitute jumped out of the window from the apartment that she was locked in.
Visually, I conceived Oasis inspired by the paintings of George de la Tour in which light and darkness conflict and interact in a wild dance. I was interested in exploring the other side of what New York is, what happens behind closed doors, in the basements. I was also interested in portraying a side of New York City that is hardly in the picture: the back side of buildings, the alleys, the backyards, the ugly bits. I was interested in getting close to the people who we see every day but don’t pay much attention to. For that reason, I emptied the building of other life and chose to be at the spaces only with our main characters.