Filipino-Japanese Stefanie Arianne debuts in new Cannes drama Plan 75

·Contributor
·4 min read
Filipino-Japanese actress Stefanie Arianne. (Source: Stefanie Arianne/Facebook)
Filipino-Japanese actress Stefanie Arianne. (Source: Stefanie Arianne/Facebook)

Japanese-Filipina Stefanie Arianne stars in Plan 75, first premiering in the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and is competing under the Un Certain Regard (lit. “a certain look” in English) category.

Chie Hayakawa writes and directs the dystopian drama. Based on Hayakawa’s segment of the same name from the 2018 anthology film Ten Years Japan, Plan 75 takes inspiration from their worsening local population crisis. In the movie, citizens are encouraged to participate in a government-sanctioned euthanasia program (the titular Plan 75) for $1,000.

The newcomer Arianne portrays Maria, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who joins Plan 75 to financially support her ailing daughter. Co-starring alongside Arianne are veteran actress Chieko Baisho as Michi, a recently laid-off hotel maid being swayed into the program, and Hayato Isomurai as Himori, a Plan 75 recruitment agent hounded by his conscience due to the nature of his work.

Describing the film to Yahoo Philippines as being “heavy,” Arianne believed that Plan 75 will remind audiences how small things can bring joy in difficult situations.

“A small act of kindness can change a person’s world completely and we have to treasure these moments. They are the things that make us feel alive and give us hope to carry on,” Arianne explained.

Meet the new girl

Arianne said that it was an “honor” to represent both Japan and the Philippines, and praised her fellow castmates and the rest of the movie’s crew.

“My emotions are a rollercoaster of happiness and excitement for what’s next! Also, being around such talented and creative people drives my passion even more. I’m so proud of our team. All in all, I'm beyond grateful for every single person that has made this possible,” she said.

Speaking with Manila Bulletin about her role, Arianne hoped that she would inspire and represent persons of color (POCs), saying “I hope to reach the stars in Hollywood and continue to be [a] part of inspirational films while also advancing diverse representation in media as a Japanese-Filipina.”

The actress also thanked her family in the Philippines for always believing that she can “survive anything.”

On why she included a Filipina character, Hayakawa told Rappler that “the Philippines is one of the biggest countries to provide caregivers to Japan. The reason why I chose a Filipino caregiver is because I have an impression that Filipino people have strong family and community bonds that we Japanese are losing.”

The director also believed that this may be due to Filipinos’ culture and religion, hoping that Arianne’s character would provide an “objective” look at Japanese society.

Hayakawa praised Arianne for her performance, as well as her contributions to the filming.

“She is a very affable and brave person. Her gaze and presence made a strong impression on me. [...] Maria is a character who is so determined to live for herself and her daughter. Stefanie’s down-to-earth presence breathes life into Maria,” Hayakawa said.

Before concluding, Arianne would also share a bit of inspiration when talking with Yahoo! Philippines. Though admitting that it was “cliched,” she urged aspiring artists to never give-up.

“You can rest along the way but never give up. There are a lot of rejections and hurdles along the way but you have to constantly find a way to light up that fire in you,” Arianne advised, adding that, while being guilty of it, one should not compare themselves to others.

Sharing that every step in a journey comes with a lesson, the actress urged artists to search for positives among the negatives, and to acknowledge personal limitations.

“[...] follow your intuition and know your boundaries. Your mental health comes first. There's only one YOU! So be kind to yourself and be your own number one fan!!,” Arianne ended.

In addition to Arianne, other Filipino talents were present in this year’s Cannes. Among these include filmmaker Mike de Leon showcasing a restored version of his feature film debut Itim (“Dark” in English) and actress Dolly de Leon (no relation to the latter) starring in the black comedy Triangle of Sadness.

Reuben Pio Martinez is a news writer who covers stories on various communities and scientific matters. He regularly tunes-in to local happenings. The views expressed are his own.

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