By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Cinema Daily published an interview by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi on April 17 with Chie Hayakawa, the director of the controversial film “Plan 75”, an award winning film at the Cannes film festival.
Hayakawa’s “Plan 75” is a dystopian criticism of the negative attitudes towards aging and elderly people. If you consider what is happening with Canada’s euthanasia law, Hayakawa’s concerns should be taken seriously.
“Plan 75” responds to the aging demographic of Japan with a dystopian vision of a government program that would encourage people to die by euthanasia at the age of 75.
The interview is couched under the concept that Plan 75 a film that “expresses support for euthanasia” but Hayakawa states:
C.H : It’s not a film about pro or con euthanasia. There is a motif of assisted suicide, but it’s not a theme of this film. One’s attitude towards how we die is very personal thing, it’s not something I want to judge. By telling this story, I wanted to stimulate the audience’s imagination and compassion to other people’s pain and emotion. I have some understanding and empathy toward people who seek the right to death-in-dignity, but I have doubt about legislating it because there may be certain people who are not allowed to have an alternative choice to death due to social or psychological pressure.
Hayakawa opposes the legalization of euthanasia. “Plan 75” is also a commentary on the negative social attitudes towards elderly people:
C.H : TV and the media are spreading fear about being old and creating a potential outlet for people’s anger and complaints about life in an insecure society. People tend to turn their wrath against the elderly not to the government.
C.H : Yes. That was the point. If I tell a story about people who are suffering from illness, the audience will say, “it’s good for them to have that option.” It will be easily accepted and people will stop thinking further. I want people to imagine and feel compassion to those who have no other option or who take the choice against their will. Also I want them to imagine how distorted our society will be if we have such system like PLAN 75 which is willing to hold out a death option to those who are suffering instead of giving them a helping hand.
The Netherlands have been debating the concept of “completed life” for several years, whereby a person who is 75 could die by euthanasia. The Netherlands Council of State published a report from December 2020, explaining why they rejected a “completed life” bill that was sponsored by the D66 MP Pia Dijkstra.
Editor’s note. This appears on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.