This disquieting sci-fi drama direct from Cannes envisions a dark path for Japan’s ageing population.
In the not-so-distant future, Japanese citizens over 75 are encouraged to avail of Plan 75, an all-expenses-paid, government-run voluntary euthanasia service. Participants receive a small payment, enough for a final trip or indulgent dinner, alongside the knowledge that they are easing the economic ‘burden’ they’ve become to society. For Michi, who has lost her job, it seems like a sound option. Plan 75 salesman Hiromi is a fervent believer, until it gets a little too close to home. And Filipina care worker Maria is roped in without quite understanding what the program will ultimately ask of her.
Inspired by a 2016 crime in which a man went on a murderous rampage inside a Tokyo care facility, Hayakawa’s thoughtful and serious film expands terrain she first mapped out in a 2018 short. In Plan 75, she creates a devastatingly recognisable world – favouring a realist lens over excessive sci-fi strangeness – from a Japan that, for her, is increasingly becoming intolerant of those on the margins. The result is a cautionary tale for all nations on how they treat their most vulnerable.
“Hayakawa has delivered something at once harrowing in its ambience, humane at its core and hard-hitting in its critique against the ageist mores of a cold, pragmatic society.” – South China Morning Post
Japanese, with English subtitles
Japan, France, Philippines, Qatar