Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Year Released: 2022, 2023
Runtime: 1h 57m
Director(s): Chie Hayakawa
Writer(s): Jason Gray, Chie Hayakawa
Cast: Chieko Baishô, Hayato Isomura, Stefanie Arianne, Taka Takao, Yumi Kawai, Hisako Ôkata, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Yûsaku Mori, Yoko Yano, Mari Nakayama, Motomi Makiguchi, Tamae Ônishi, Koshirô Asami, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Sheryl Ichikawa, Yoshinobu Kanai, Masahiro Umeda, Ameri Suzuki
Where To Watch: available November 21, 2023; pre-order here www.mvdshop.com, or www.amazon.com
RAVING REVIEW: Chie Hayakawa's PLAN 75 takes us on a cinematic journey into a dystopian future in Japan, where demographic shifts have reached a tipping point. This film is not just a story but a societal mirror, presenting the controversial Plan 75. As we follow the life of Michi Kakutani, a spirited 78-year-old, the narrative immerses us in a world that challenges our views on aging and the respect it deserves.
In the world of PLAN 75, we're transported to a Japan where economic imperatives overshadow the aging population's respect. Here, the government unveils Plan 75, a policy encouraging voluntary euthanasia for those over 75. This narrative skillfully intertwines the harsh realities of society with the imaginative flair of science fiction. It also shows a plan that isn’t as far-fetched as one might think. Many societies in the real world often put logic to the side in trying to solve problems with the desire to sacrifice people for profit. The history of the world has shown plans like this (not for the older members of society, but for other groups that weren’t respected.)
At the forefront of this story is Michi Kakutani, depicted with depth by Chieko Baisho. More than just a protagonist, Michi, a 78-year-old housekeeper, guides us through a society that increasingly views its elderly as expendable. Her perspective brings to light the intricate moral and emotional facets of Plan 75, weaving a tale of family, financial survival, and the quest for dignity in a morally gray world.
Director Chie Hayakawa marks her cinematic debut with a powerful story that sparks a worldwide conversation about the aging crisis. While rooted in Japan's demographic realities, the film resonates globally, addressing universal themes of elder care and ethical dilemmas.
Baisho's portrayal of Michi captures the spirit of a generation often sidelined. The film’s visual narrative, marked by stark shots, enhances the story's weight, pulling viewers away from the sparkle of mainstream cinema and into a space of reflection.
PLAN 75 could occasionally improve in its narrative pacing; a mix between a slow burn at times and an electric, fast-paced story can feel like a struggle at times. A more accurate depiction of the public's reaction to Plan 75 could have enriched the film's portrayal of this imagined future. Although I still don’t know if this was meant to be an authentic world depiction or a future caused by jaded harm in the past.
Despite these minor flaws, PLAN 75 stands out as more than just entertainment. It catalyzes thought, debate, and introspection. Tackling themes such as the value of life and our collective responsibilities towards older people, the film invites audiences to consider our societal trajectories deeply.
PLAN 75 is a profound contribution to the dystopian genre. It artfully blends social commentary with a realistically possible future, offering a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narrative. Hayakawa's exploration of aging, societal responsibility, and ethical quandaries provides a cinematic experience that stays with the audience, urging a contemplative look at the future of elder care and the fundamental values of our society.
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[photo courtesy of KIMSTIM, MVD ENTERTAINMENT]