IDFA - Junha’s Planet
Hyung-sook Hong / KR, 2018 / 108 min.
The first day of the new school year is an especially tense time for 11-year-old Junha: his classmates avoid him because they can’t tell when he might suddenly start spitting and throwing punches at them. With infinite patience, his teachers try to subdue him, but it seems impossible to connect with this sullen young fellow. The question arises in everyone’s mind of whether someone with such serious behavioural problems really belongs in this class.
In this tender and beautifully observed portrait of a boy with autism, we see him struggling to make his way through the school system. There are plenty of sympathetic teachers and behaviour experts around, but they, just like Junha”s parents, are at their wits” end. Love alternates with a sense of helplessness.
The static shots of Junha highlight his restlessness. His violent outbursts remain unpredictable, although under pressure he does start expressing regret a little more often. All the while, his classmates make increasing efforts to understand him. They want so much for him to play with them, and that”s the best thing they can ask him to do.