A CURZON FILM
Chie Hayakawa’s thought-provoking drama imagines a world where a country with a low birth rate and dwindling workforce takes drastic steps to alleviate the burden of it’s aging population.
Japan in the not-too-distant future, like so many neighbouring countries, is saddled with an economic deficit, the result of an oversized population claiming pensions, which outweighs the tax contributions of a working society dwindling in size. A tragic event prompts the government to take action, and they set about solving the country’s troubles by introducing new legislation they call Plan 75. It offers any senior over the age of 75 a painless death and modest compensation that they can either spend or pass on to their surviving family.
Michi, a single, elderly woman who can barely cover the costs of everyday life, finds difficulty in renting a home after she’s forced to retire from her cleaning job. But she has no desire to let go of life. Widower Yukio, at 78, feels like his time has come. It’s only when he encounters his nephew Hiromu at one of the processing centres for Plan 75 that he starts to doubt his decision.
An acute sociological study, Hayakawa’s film embraces its speculative fiction with little question, and instead focuses on the way society treats its ageing population. The result is not only moving, as the realisation of what this law will rob the world of sets in, but also holds a mirror up to our own world, asking what the notion of humanity means to us if the possibility of such a societal change could even be considered.