South Korea, 2011, 87'
Planet of Snail
To communicate, they tap on one another’s hands. He comes from 'planet of snail', where people live slow, quiet lives and rely mostly on their sense of touch. When he came to Earth, nobody understood his language. He was lonely and desperate, like an astronaut isolated in space. Then an angel walked into his life. The angel knew how it felt to be lonely. Soon, the angel became part of his life and gave him hope and taught him how to make himself understood.
This can be one version of their story. Here is another one: Young-Chan has been deaf and blind since early childhood. His wife Soon-Ho suffers from a spinal condition that has arrested her growth at just under four feet. They live together in South Korea, a country where media tends to emphasize the helplessness of disabled individuals. Filmmaker Yi Seung-Jun neither victimizes nor romanticizes them or their relationship. We see the couple engaged in mundane activities such as changing a light-bulb, which offer a brutal understanding of the physical limitations faced by the two. But it also allows us, with impressive intimacy, to glimpse into the inner worlds of the two, by drawing inspiration from the man’s poetry.
Filmed over a two-year period in a beautiful, unobtrusive observational style, Planet of Snail is a uniquely powerful love story with a universal resonance which captures the grace of living in the present moment. A hymn to the human spirit, it reminds us that it takes more than able-bodiedness to keep one alert to the wonders of the world such as the taste of raindrops or the texture of tree bark.
12 March, 18:00, Cinemateca Eforie
17 March, 14:00, Cinema Union
Best Documentary Feature, Antenna Film Festival, Australia, 2012
Best Documentary Feature, Silverdocs, USA, 2012
Best International Documentary, Documenta Madrid, Spain, 2012
Best International Documentary, DocAviv: Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, Israel, 2012
Best Documentary Feature, It's All True Festival, Brazil, 2012
Best Feature Length Documentary, IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2011