If humans could live forever, should we? Does life have meaning without death? Melding human drama with philosophical exploration, this lyrical sci-fi from director Kei Ishikawa (GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN, HIFF 2017) seeks to pose rather than answer these questions. Sporting immaculate, crisp, cool set designs and lush cinematography, ARC envelopes the viewer in a near future Japan where the ability to preserve the human body has advanced.
19-year-old dancer Rina (Kyoko Yoshine) has found herself living on the streets after running away and abandoning her baby at age 17. But when she encounters a mysteriously wealthy woman named Ema (Shinobu Terajima) at a dance performance, an opportunity arises that begins to change the course of her life. Ema brings Rina into her world of ‘plastination’, a new technique that allows the human body to be preserved in perfect condition after death. However, Ema’s brother Amane (Masaki Okada) has bigger plans in the works. When Amane builds on this technique and discovers how to preserve the living human body indefinitely, effectively achieving immortality, it sets the stage to change the course of humanity forever. As Rina grows closer to Amane, she must decide whether to tie her fate to this new world.