Japanese movie Plan 75 about the elderly ‘scarier than a horror movie’, says director

Plan 75 is set in a Japan that resembles contemporary Japan, but with a difference.

In this parallel world, the government launched the film’s title scheme. He encourages those who reach the age of 75 to end their lives so as not to weigh on their loved ones or on the State.

State-run voluntary euthanasia facilities process recordings silently and painlessly. Enthusiastic promoters distribute leaflets along the parks and streets, registration forms are ready.

A benefit of the plan? Free minutes with a paid friend chat line, so that in the last days of a lone participant, the warmth of company can be felt one last time.

Exclusive to the Projector on August 25, Plan 75 is the feature debut of Japanese screenwriter and director Chie Hayakawa.

At the Cannes Film Festival in May, the dystopian drama won the special mention of the Caméra d’Or competition and was selected to be screened in the Un Certain Regard section.

In an email interview with The Straits Times, Hayakawa, 46, explains how the indie film struck a chord in his home country.

According to industry publications, three weeks after its mid-June release, the film hit the 200 million yen (Singaporean$2 million) mark at the box office, while increasing the number of theaters the diffusing.

“People said it was a horror movie, scarier than a horror movie. Many Japanese are worried about old age. Young people are worried about how to survive when they get old. It becomes a national phobia,” she said.

Plan 75 makes no moral judgments about those who freely choose to euthanize themselves, for reasons such as terminal illness. The focus is on the implications of a campaign that, whether it likes it or not, causes citizens to despise the weak, she says.

According to an article published by the European Parliament in 2020, Japan, with its median age of 48, is now the fastest aging country in the world. One in four people are aged 65 or over.

Its policies offer a case study for Europe and other countries dealing with the issue of declining birth rates and the growing number of elderly people, according to the document.

The film follows three characters: elderly woman Michi (beloved veteran actress Chieko Baisho), who lives alone; Hiromu (Hayato Isomura), an official working in the Plan 75 department; and Maria (Japanese-Filipina actress Stefanie Arianne), a migrant worker in the health sector.

Marie A. Evans