Planet of Snail

“Cinematic love stories don’t come more convincing or singular than this.” — Eric Hynes, Village Voice

Director: Seung-Jun Yi
Year: 2011
Country: Finland, Japan, Korea
Running time: 87 mins

Photography: Yi Seung-jun
Producers: Kim Min-chul, Gary Kam
Editors: Simon El Habre, Yi Seung-jun
Music: Min Seong-ki
In Korean with English subtitles

With: Young-chan, Soon-ho

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2011; Tribeca 2011
Best Documentary, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2011

The exquisitely gentle Planet of Snail, top prize winner at the Amsterdam Documentary Festival, finds the inspirational in the everyday. This patient, immersive and appropriately tactile film follows the daily routine of a deaf-blind man, Cho Young-chan, who lives in a small Korean town with his tiny wife, Soon-ho. Despite his dependence on his ‘shadow friend’, he lives a life of quiet determination and considerable accomplishment, studying Hebrew, writing poetry, making sculptures, and scripting a play to be performed by a bunch of his blind friends at the local church. Lesser tasks prove more demanding: diminutive Soon-ho and blind Young-chan have to work together in order to change a fluorescent bulb in their bedroom. Their relationship is so smooth and symbiotic that friends and colleagues are concerned that Young-chan might be losing his independence, and promote a forced separation to prove his ability to survive on his own. Director Yi Seung-jun follows their triumphs and disappointments with a wonderful intimacy that matches that of the central couple.

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Robyn Harper, Michael McDonnell

To view this movie you must have Adobe Flash Player version 9 or higher and javascript turned on.