Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DVD Review | "Planet of Snail"

I first saw Yi Seungjun's lovely documentary, Planet of Snail, when it was released in theaters back in July. But as is sometimes unfortunately the case, it got lost in the shuffle and I never got around to reviewing it.

I admired it though, and found myself revisiting it in my mind often in the days that followed. There's really nothing else out there like it. It's a truly unique love story that, if it were the subject of a fiction film, might come off as treacly or too far fetched to be believed. But sometimes there is nothing more beautiful than real life.

Planet of Snail is the story of Young Chan, a Korean poet who lost his sight and hearing at a young age. His wife, Soon Ho, suffers from a spinal disorder, but is his constant companion, communicating with him through a form of finger braille, in which they speak through tapping on each others hands. He has never seen or heard her, but her love is keenly felt every step of the way.


Young Chan sees the world in words through his beautiful poetry. Deprived of visual and aural senses, his vision becomes internal, his surroundings informed by tactile sensations, his relationship with his beloved Soon Ho communicated and felt through the tips of his fingers. Planet of Snail celebrates love in its most basic and essential form. Its two subjects form an inseparable and symbiotic bond, each filling in the gaps in the other. It is a deeply humane film in that way, relatively straightforward in structure and style but its story is one that is both timeless and moving.

The DVD release by the Cinema Guild comes just in time for Valentine's Day, and while it may not be the most swooningly romantic or exciting choice for Valentine's Day  viewing, there are few films out there that capture the essence of love so tenderly or memorably. Like the best documentaries, Planet of Snail introduces us to a world like no other, where poetry and touch overcome the most incredible of circumstances, and love may be the most tangible feeling of all.

GRADE - ★★★ (out of four)

PLANET OF SNAIL | Directed by Yi Seungjun | Not rated | In Korean w/English subtitles | Now available on DVD from The Cinema Guild.

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