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"Planet of Snail"

More than 50 shades of gray


"Planet of Snail" is the final presentation in the Dryden Theatre's "Cinema Guild" series, which has screened a wide-ranging selection of recent movies from the foreign and independent film distributor, and it's as sweet and life-affirming a film as you could ever wish to see. The South Korean documentary, from director Yi Seung-jin, offers a glimpse into the lives of husband and wife Young-chan and Soon-ho. He's deaf and blind, while she has a spinal deformity that has limited her growth so that she's not even half the height of her husband, yet together they form the most extraordinary couple. Completely observational, Seung-jin immerses his audience, providing no exposition so that we must glean any personal background information from conversations we overhear as the pair goes about their daily lives. They seem to act as a solitary unit when they're together (which is always), as Soon-ho communicates with Young-chan by tapping words out onto his fingers.

In what's possibly the most beautiful scene in a film that's loaded with them, we watch as the couple must act as a team to complete the deceivingly simple task of changing a light bulb which she can't reach and he can't see. A lovely and gentle film that never condescends to its subjects, it's impossible not to feel moved by the love, patience, and devotion these two individuals have for one another.