Sponsored Euthanasia as Dystopia in Plan 75

I can’t imagine a scenario in which a dystopian film about government sponsored euthanasia of elderly citizens could be translated successfully to the North American context. Part of what makes the best dystopias work is a root in some truth, in some deep-seated cultural anxiety, and that dystopia is more or less unimaginable—especially with the conceit of the euthanasia being perceived as an act of patriotism. And that’s the premise of Plan 75, a Japanese film screened at the MFA as part of the Boston Festival of Films From Japan.

Ritual suicide for the country, or mass seppuku, and a rapidly aging population are very much topical issues in Japan. Plan 75, directed by Chie Hayakawa, creates a dystopia that apart from a free government sponsored euthanasia welfare plan for citizens above the age of 75 is fully recognizable as contemporary Japan. Nearing economic collapse because of the country’s unbelievably low replacement rate, the government even incentivizes citizens with a laughable $1,000 “preparing grant” to do with what they will before their day comes—a not so subtle indication of what socio-economic bracket the government hopes will participate.

Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.

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