Planet of Snail

Planet of Snail is a glimpse into the unique relationship of deaf and blind Young-Chan and his wife Soon-Ho, who has a spinal disability and shortened stature. The two navigate life’s challenges (such as the hour-long changing of a light bulb) together with an astonishing level of communication and trust. Soon-Ho interprets the outside world for Young-Chan, communicating using finger Braille and adapted computers, while Young-Chan treats Soon-Ho’s debilitating pain with acupuncture.

Unusually for disability documentaries, little mention is made of how the couple support themselves, though Young-Chan is seen entering essay contests and the pair coaches aspiring actors in appearing to be deaf and blind. Young-Chan also writes and directs a play for his church group, but only a snippet is shown. He also makes small sculptures for the amusement of his deaf-blind friends, one of which depicts a man using a chamber pot.

Some of Young-Chan’s friends express jealousy over their relationship as Young-Chan has “full time care”, but Young-Chan is adamant that isn’t why he married her. But the remark clearly stings; Young-Chan later decides to do some errands on his own just to keep his skills sharp, while Soon-Ho spends the day at home alone. Though he returns safely, having proved he’s still able to navigate, Young-Chan immediately comforts Soon-Ho for her hours of loneliness. Therein lies the real bond between the two; the understanding and acceptance.

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