“In choosing silence, do we also wish to be forgotten?”
In a country with a large population of elderly and middle-aged people living in isolation in small apartments without friends or family to rely on, many die alone and unnoticed. Their bodies are discovered by neighbors several weeks, or even months, after. The lonely death, or kodokushi, has become hauntingly common in Japan. Still it remains a sensitive subject and is rarely discussed. Filmmaker Janus Victoria confronts the silence on the subject through encounters with a man who cleans the apartments of those who die alone, a photographer who documents the aftermath of kodokushi, an elderly woman fiercely protective of her independence even in old age, and an artist who sings to pierce the stillness around her. By examining the quiet and lonely death, Encounters with Silence becomes a meditation on life itself.