This quietly devastating debut depicts a dystopian near-future Japan where the government implements a programme of voluntary euthanasia for those over 75 as the solution for a rapidly aging population.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
In this imagined near-future, Japan’s aging society is seen as such a huge financial strain that the government introduces Plan 75—where anyone over the age of 75 is encouraged to help ease their burden on society through voluntary euthanasia. Michi (Chieko Baisho), a 78-year-old hotel maid lives an independent, fulfilling life, but is left to consider her options after losing her job. Hiromu (Hayato Isomura), a young Plan 75 recruiter, begins to question what this policy really means when his uncle signs up. Maria (Stefanie Arianne) is a Filipino caregiver who takes on a job with Plan 75 to make more money to send home.
Overwhelmed by loneliness and lured by the constant promotion of Plan 75, Michi builds a rapport with the young onboarding agent Yoko (Yuumi Kawai), and both are left wondering what humanity means when a life is only measured in economic terms. Supported by a quietly devastating performance from Baisho and shot in a low-key realism that makes it even more chilling, Plan 75 is a highly impressive debut. The film received a Special Mention for Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and represented Japan for Best Foreign Film at the 2023 Academy Awards. — Vicci Ho
“This is an ultra-delicate whisper of a drama—the kind in which a typical scene might consist of an old woman sitting alone in her apartment for several minutes of haunted silence. And yet the anger that fringes such bittersweet moments gradually accumulates into a palpable and lingering rage at how good we’ve become at branding cruelty as compassion.” — David Ehrlich, Indiewire