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.

Planet of Snail

from the Tribeca film festival site:
Planet of Snail

Feature Documentary | 89 min | World Documentary Competition

Deaf and blind, Young-Chan lives in the quiet, isolated world of his small apartment, nursing dreams of someday becoming a successful writer. But when Soon-Ho, an empathetic woman herself compromised by a spinal disability, comes into his life, a unique love story begins. A small and delicate tale, Planet of Snail depicts this inseparable pair in their daily life, infusing beauty and gravity into the minutest moments of their experience: the challenge of changing a light bulb, the thrill of a ride on a sled, the momentousness of a day out in the world alone.

Winner of the top jury prize at the world’s preeminent nonfiction film festival, the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam, Planet of Snail is a poetic and gently paced study that brings to life the sensual world shared by this special couple. Deftly directed with tenderness and subtlety under the sensitive hand of documentarian Seung-Jun Yi, Planet of Snail is a visually striking, intimate, and experiential journey that proves the greatest beauty can be found in the smallest and most unlikely love stories.
–Cara Cusumano

Miryo, “Dirty”

This K-pop solo debut of singer Miryo of the Brown-Eyed Girls features an unnamed protagonist who seems to have locked-in syndrome. She appears to the other characters as if in a coma, but we the audience can read her internal experience through the facial expressions that the others do not see. The use of a disabled character is meant to convey that she is an innocent, wronged in love, and seemingly unable to retaliate.

Before the music starts, she is wheeled into a spacious, elaborately decorated hospital room. Her hair is a mess, but the zebra striped blanket she retains is meant as a symbol of youth and individuality. Her doctor and nurse immediately begin flirting with each other, annoying our protagonist. A handsome young man arrives to drop off a basket of fruit and raise her heart rate, though she’s clearly unable to eat any of it or thank him for the offering. A female friend puts pink lip gloss on her, and her facial expressions register gratitude. Though locked-in syndrome is often the stuff of nightmares for the able-bodied, our protagonist is shown enjoying the care and attention.

The boyfriend and the female friend happen to visit her at the same time, and their attraction becomes apparent when they suddenly share a kiss. The doctor and nurse, intent on their own flirtation, inadvertently leave a syringe near our heroine’s hand. The boyfriend and female friend return during the next visiting hours, begin to undress each other, and quite rudely drop their clothing on the immobile protagonist.

She vows revenge, and over the course of the night manages to grab the syringe (in the classic cliche of overcoming her disability because she really, really wants to) and wield it like a samurai sword. The next day, when boyfriend and female friend return for another tryst, he sits on the syringe and screams like a little girl. He falls to the floor unconscious, knocking a glass onto some medical equipment. A fire is started that kills the female friend, the nurse, and the doctor in short order.

Korean broadcasting stations banned “Dirty” for containing the word “cross-eyed”, which could be perceived as a derogatory term for the disabled. Miryo was forced to change the lyrics to be able to perform on music shows.
Thanks to pop!gasa for the English translation:

You’re the one who called me first
You’re the one who asked me out first
But from some time, absurdly, you haven’t been calling as much and I haven’t been seeing you
Whenever we locked eyes, I fell into a deep lake called you and didn’t think about anything else
I trusted you like that but you inappropriately repay me by continuing to make me cry
Why does love fly to me like a butterfly to give me scars and leave?
All day I stare at my phone and on days I forget it at home,
As soon as I get back, the first thing I do is check but there isn’t a single text from you – why?
Hey, you! I… you!

* You’re dirty, you’re dirty
Why are you playing with a person’s heart?
I don’t want to care from now on
A person like you is typical – you’re dirty dirty, you’re dirty dirty
Why are you scratching up my innocent heart
I don’t want to mind from now on
I’m too good for someone like you – you’re dirty

“Good-looking guys can be hard to deal with (naw~) so be careful – he’s not worth keeping” (wut?!)
I disregarded what people said because I thought they were jealous
But that girl, that young girl, those pretty girls are all gathered around
And I see your eyes wandering – be careful, you’ll get cross-eyed
Half the world consists of guys (guys), but these days, there are more guys than girls
If you keep acting like you’re all that, let’s see how long that lasts – am I right? (yes sir!)
Even if you beg me to forget, clinging onto my leg, you’re over
You still got guts to see me? Stop trying to kiss me – you were a mistake, got it?

* repeat

I thought it was real,but you’ve been so bad
And I don’t care anymore..
You know why? What the…!

Just thinking about it makes me mad, the history of you and I
If I think about it, all your actions were so dirty dirty
Even if time goes back, chances are zero but I’m not sorry
You’re dirty, you’re dirty, you’re dirty
Just thinking about it makes me mad, the history of you and I
If I think about it, all your actions were so dirty dirty
I’m so sick of you! I’m so sick of you!
You’re dirty, you’re dirty, you’re dirty
You’re dirty, you’re dirty, you’re dirty
You’re dirty, you’re dirty


A murder rocks a South Korean town and suspicion quickly falls on a reclusive, mentally challenged — and alibi-free — young man (Bin Won). When an inept public defender botches the boy’s case, his mother (Hye-ja Kim) sets out to prove her son’s innocence. Acclaimed director Joon-ho Bong (Memories of Murder) explores the lengths a mother will go to protect her child in this atmospheric crime thriller.

Mother has English captions and subtitles, and is also available in Blu-ray format.