As the modern working society of any global economy experiences exponential growth in work-centric culture, the integrity of communal and family values degrades as a result. Factors such as lack of leisure and human interaction directly correlate to the declining number of marriages, hence exposing an aging population with no reinforcement. Collectively, as a result, the number of elderly people who live alone continues to expand, and in places such as modern-day Japan, the phenomenon of "lonely death" or kodokushi - 孤独死, an occurrence of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long time, has been a remarkable issue. Neo’s Cleaning Service is a 2022 undergraduate thesis film at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The story takes place in a dystopian world where retired seniors are deemed as a burden to society. Inspired by the Japanese societal issue of kodokushi (lonely death), the film questions the value of a late person's legacy and casts light on senior citizens who are too often forgotten or neglected by our work-centric culture. The young protagonist, Tim Bauer, is a social cleaner whose job is to dispose of seniors' belongings. The nature of Tim’s job makes him perceive these memorabilia as salvageable junk, despite the fact that this “junk” once belonged to someone who cherished it dearly. Thanks to the unexpected encounter with Paul, a supposedly recalled (taken away) senior citizen, Tim finally takes the time to look at the things he has been mindlessly tossing away, hence undergoing a sense of awareness. The film looks to raise awareness of the current global issue of senior abandonment through a sensationalized lens of science fiction.
Saito, Yuka and Nguyen, McFloyd, "Neo's Cleaning Service" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 513.