FFM videos


To complete our coverage of the festival, here is the video for the Red carpet arrival of director Yoshinari Nishikori, actors Naoki Kobayashi and Sho Aoyagi for the Japanese movie Tatara Samurai screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 29th, 2016:


Tatara Samurai – Red Carpet from clodjee on Vimeo.
And here is the video of the introduction and Q&A for Tatara Samurai screened the same night:


Tatara Samurai from clodjee on Vimeo.
As a bonus I am throwing in the video of Isabelle Adjani’s red carpet arrival at the Montreal World Film Festival on September 4th, 2016:


Isabelle Adjani – Red carpet from clodjee on Vimeo.
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FFM 2016 wrap-up


Here we are concluding our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

Unfortunately, only two Japanese movies won an award this year: Tatara Samurai by Yoshinari Nishikori won “Best Artistic Contribution” and Ken-san by Yuichi Hibi won “Best Documentary” (ex-aequo with a Canadian film). Although, there’s almost always a Japanese film in the list of the winners, even if it’s often just a token price. That’s probably why Japanese producers keep presenting their films here and generally come with a big delegation. You can find on the festival website the complete list for the laureates of the 47th Student Film Festival and of the 40th Montreal World Film Festival competition.

If I look back I can say that this year’s festival really had a hard time. Almost everything was against it: stingy governmental agencies, ungrateful chain of theatres, sceptical employees, hostile media, and, to top it all, even a member of the jury dying in his hotel room just the day before the closing ceremony! It’s a miracle that it happened at all. However, despite all this and the chaos that ensued (which affected mostly the scheduling), they managed to keep showing movies (as long as there’s movies, there’s hope) and, all in all, it was a pretty good festival. The public was there. The movies were there . They met at the Cinéma Impérial (mostly, but also at a few other venues). A beautiful love story. The end? Beside this, why bother with all the media doomsday fuss?

After all, it was not that much more chaotic than the previous years (ok, I admit this time there was no press room, no film market with its screening booths, no “5 to 7” to bond & meet with people of the industry, no outdoor screenings, screenings were spread all over town and the schedule kept changing so I could see only FOUR of the twelve announced Japanese movies — but, I mean, beside that (which was an annoyance mostly for the press), it wasn’t that bad, isn’t it?). The good thing with this year situation is that, with only one screen, there wasn’t any schedule conflict anymore! Also, I might I’ve seen only four movies, but at least I saw something and I am happy with it.

However, I would reserved very harsh words (that I would rather not repeat here) for the various levels of government who let down the movie-loving public and, particularly, for the Cineplex Forum (hey! If you were to start showing movies in the end — presumably because you’ve reached an agreement with the festival or felt too ashamed that the Outremont and Park theatres were picking up screenings — why not have accepted from the start and save us all the trouble of the flip-flopping screening schedule! That behaviour is down-right insulting and you will not catch me anytime soon in a Cineplex theatre).

Through all this the press has been pretty harsh on Losique and his festival. All he wanted was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his baby and they all pooped on his party. In the end, seeing it was rather a success, many rallied in the festival support but it might have been too little, too late. Nathalie Petrowski, of La Presse, was one of the few who covered the festival with a positive attitude from the start.

Amongst her comments, she offered an interesting speculation on the future of the festival: maybe the Chinese firm that donated the prize money for the awards would be interested in investing more in the festival or even buy it from Losique in order to keep promoting Chinese cinema in North America?

In another article, she quotes Pierre-Henri Deleau, who was in charge of programmation at the Cannes festival’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. He was happy to be in Montreal, watching so many good films: “What is amazing is that despite the disorganization, chaos, pips and all the disparaging about the festival, look at that line! People are coming despite everything. Nowhere in the world you will see that. And to think that the City of Montreal continues to pretend it does not exist.”

We are hopeful for the future since Serge Losique has announced at the Closing Ceremony that there WILL be a festival next year (from August 24 to September 4, 2017) and hinted that he was planning his succession. Let’s hope that the various levels of government will, this time, agree to support this iconic event just in time for the 375th anniversary of the city! But with or without subsidies, the public and the young movie-makers deserve a festival. All we need is the cinema aficionados to be there, a few screens, some beautiful movies and it will be love all over again!

Thanks to the organizers (those who stayed), volunteers, the selected film-makers who came to present their movies (and to Serge Losique) who all made this festival another interesting cinematic experience. See you next year, hopefully.

Press reviews:

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Weekly notable news (W36)

I always do my best to keep myself acquainted with the affairs of the world. So, let me share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):

Revue de Presse du FFM

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FFM Update Day 4


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

This is my last day at this year’s festival.

I couldn’t be there yesterday but I heard that the queue for the Japanese movie (A loving husband) was pretty long and that Willem Dafoe came back after his movie (My Hindu Friend, Brazil, dir.: Héctor Babenco) despite the late hour (midnight) for a thirty-minute Q&A. That guy has a lot of respect for his audience and fans!

Even if my wife is still hospitalized (don’t worry she’s doing better, they just kept her to perform some tests), I couldn’t miss the last Japanese movie to be shown at the festival (this year, hopefully). I didn’t regret it. It was a great comedy. I’ll tell you more about it later.

Good Morning show: The crew arriving in a horse carriage! Dir./Scr. Ryoichi Kimizuka, actress Mirai Shida, actor Kiichi Nakai and actress Masami Nagasawa
Good Morning Show : Crew arriving on a horse carriage! Good Morning Show : Dir./Scr. Ryoichi Kimizuka, actress Mirai Shida, actor Kiichi Nakai and actress Masami Nagasawa
I lingered a little after the show to catch a glimpse of Isabelle Adjani that was coming to present her movie Carole Matthieu (France, Dir.: Louis-Julien Petit).

Isabelle Adjani Isabelle Adjani
More pictures on my “FFM 2016” album on Flickr
Tomorrow (Monday) is the last day of the festival. As soon as I have the list of the lucky awards’ winners I’ll post my wrap up comments.

Let’s hope it won’t be the last of the FFM!

Press review:

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FFM Update


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

With all the schedule changes I wasted days off on days that had the screening I wanted to see cancelled so I couldn’t take more days off to watch the couple of movies that were shown at the Outremont Wednesday (Frozen Fireworks, Hold my Hand) and Friday (Tsukiji Wonderland, Ken-san). And my wife was hospitalized due to a sudden illness today so I couldn’t watch A loving husband… At least I managed to see three Japanese movies. Maybe one more tomorrow…

Sunday September 4, 17h30 (CI.04.5) COMP

Good Morning Show (グッドモーニングショー / Guddo Moningu Sho): Japan, 2016, 103 min.; Dir./Scr.: Ryoichi Kimizuka; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kento Hayashi, Zen Kajiwara, Haruka Kinami, Shunsuke Daitô, Gaku Hamada, Yô Yoshida, Yutaka Matsushige, Saburô Tokitô. The morning variety show, a staple of television around the world, offers news and entertainment but TV host Shingo didn’t expect to be himself the source of the news and entertainment.

Two more theatres are showing FFM movies, so now all the movies selected and previously announced will be screened at least once: the Cineplex Forum (2313 St. Catherine St. West Suite 101 – Metro Atwater // Oh, you choose now to join the party, you moron) and the Cinema Dollar (6900 Décarie Square — Métro Namur). Unfortunately, the Cineplex Forum has shown Her love boils bathwater Saturday at 10h00 and I missed it.

Please, check the schedule on the festival’s website.

All the announced guests are supposed to be there: Liu Yifei, Willem Dafoe and Isabelle Adjani.

Don’t forget to enjoy the festival while you can because it might very well be the last!

Press reviews:

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MWFF Update Day 3


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

Yesterday, I’ve put on Vimeo a short video of The Seal of the Sun‘s crew introducing their movie before the screening (unfortunately, I had camera troubles, so the video is not very good and it’s incomplete).

I also went to the screening of The Black Widow Business. It’s a good comedy build around what should be a dark subject: women “seeking out old wealthy men to wed and deprive the bereaved family’s inheritance”. There was again a good attendance as the first level of the theatre was nearly three-quarter full (about 250~350 people). I’ll tell you more about it later.

After the Théatre Outremont announcing it will show the “Documentaries” and “Focus on World Cinema” segments of the festival, now it is the Cinéma du Parc (3575, av. du Parc) that has announced that it will show the movies for the 47th Student Film Festival for free! As usual, check the schedule on the festival’s website.

The next Japanese movies to be shown are (barring any more schedule changes):


Wednesday August 31, 15h00 at Théatre Outremont (TO.31.3) DOC

Frozen Fireworks: The Legendary Japanese Model Sayoko Yamaguchi (氷の花火 山口小夜子 / Kori no hanabi Yamaguchi Sayoko / lit. “Ice of fireworks Sayoko Yamaguchi”) : Japan, 2015, 97 min.; Dir.: Takako Matsumoto; Prod.: OHO Sayuki; Phot.: KISHIDA Masao; Ed.: MAEJIMA Kenji; Sound: TAKAGI Hajime ; Mus.: HISAMOTO Yukina; Cast: YAMAGUCHI Sayoko, Serge LUTENS, MARUYAMA Keita. A documentary portrait of Yamaguchi Sayoko, Asia’s first “top model”, via rare footage and testimony of friends and professional acquaintances.

Wednesday August 31, 17h00 at Théatre Outremont (TO.31.4) REG

Hold my hand (手をつないでかえろうよ シャングリラの向こうで / Te wo Tsunaide Kaeroyo — Shangurira no Mukou de / lit. “In the other side of the Let’s go home hand in hand Shangri-La”) : Japan, 2016, 105 min.; Dir.: Yoko Narahashi; Scr.: Masayuki Imai; Cast: Tetsuya Bessho, Itsuji Itao, Jay Kabira, Katsuya, Sumire Matsubara, Masahiro Nakai, Nanami. Makoto has a learning disability but dreams of becoming a truck driver. He falls in love with Sakura, a girl who has a similar disability and wants to become a dancer.

Friday September 2, 11h00 at Théatre Outremont (TO.02.1) DOC

Tsukiji Wonderland (築地ワンダーランド) : Japan, 2016, 116 min.; Dir.: Naotaro Endo. A day at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, the biggest wholesale seafood market in the world, for a fascinating view of the seafood business during the ramshackle 80-year-old complex’s last year of operation.

Friday September 2, 17h00 at Théatre Outremont (TO.02.4) DOC

Ken san (健さん) : Japan, 2016, 95 min.; Dir.: Yuichi Hibi; Phot.: Yoshihisa Toda; Ed.: Miyuki Ohgata; Mus.: Tarô Iwashiro. Ken San pieces together the puzzle of the life and legacy of Japan’s mythical acting icon, Ken Takakura. Collaborators, friends and family share intimate stories of Ken’s journey.

Saturday September 3, 13h00 at Cinéma Impérial (CI.03.3) PRE

A loving husband ( 恋妻家宮本 / Koisaika Miyamoto): Japan, 2016, 117 min.; Dir./Scr.: Kazuhiko Yukawa (based on the novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Yûki Amami (Miyoko), Hiroshi Abe (Yohei). Schoolteacher Yohei is married to Miyoko. For the first time in 25 years they begin to live by themselves when their son marries and moves out. Then Yohei discovers that all’s not well in his marriage.

Sunday September 4, 17h30 at Cinéma Impérial (CI.04.5) COMP

Good Morning Show (グッドモーニングショー / Guddo Moningu Sho): Japan, 2016, 103 min.; Dir./Scr.: Ryoichi Kimizuka; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kento Hayashi, Zen Kajiwara, Haruka Kinami, Shunsuke Daitô, Gaku Hamada, Yô Yoshida, Yutaka Matsushige, Saburô Tokitô. The morning variety show, a staple of television around the world, offers news and entertainment but TV host Shingo didn’t expect to be himself the source of the news and entertainment.

As usual, enjoy the festival while you can because it might very well be the last!

Press reviews:

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MWFF Update Day 2


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

Yesterday was my second day at the festival. I went to see Tatara Samurai in the early evening. It was the premiere of the movie so the crew (the director and the two main actors) arrived in great pomp with a limo and the red carpet. There was lots of people and the main floor of the Imperial Theatre was almost full (which means about 300~400 people). It was a beautiful and excellent samurai movie that reminded me a little of Kurosawa. Unfortunately, the more I like a movie the more I find difficult to talk about it. But don’t worry, I’ll manage to organize my notes (as well as edit the video of the screening intro and small Q&A session — taken this time with my old and more reliable camera) in the next few days in order to eventually share them with you.

See my “FFM 2016” album on Flickr
Tatara Samurai poster Tatara Samurai Red Carpet arrival
Actors Naoki Kobayashi, Sho Aoyagi and director Yoshinari Nishikori Actors Naoki Kobayashi and Sho Aoyagi
Yesterday afternoon, I also posted online my comment on the movie The Seal of the Sun.

It is really damn difficult to do any planning during this festival. You think that you finally have your stuff organized, you ask for a day off work and then, bang!, they change the schedule. Again. I really hate this situation. You really need to check the screening schedule every day (in the evening and in the morning)!

The next Japanese movie to be shown will be tonight and then, so far, there’s nothing until next week-end — but note that the movie planned for Saturday night, Her Love Boils Bathwater, is CANCELLED!

Tuesday August 30, 19h40 (CI.30.6) HC

Black Widow Business (後妻業 の 女 / Gosaigyō no onna / lit. “Woman of the second wife industry”) : Japan, 2016, 128 min.; Dir./Scr.: Yasuo Tsuruhashi (based on the novel by Hiroyuki Kurokawa); Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Masatô Ibu, Machiko Ono. With 4000 matchmaking agencies across Japan serving some 600,000 clients, especially men and women over 65, the pickings are ripe for “black widows”. But the daughter of one victim decides to investigate.

Saturday September 3, 13h00 (CI.03.3) PRE

A loving husband ( 恋妻家宮本 / Koisaika Miyamoto): Japan, 2016, 117 min.; Dir./Scr.: Kazuhiko Yukawa (based on the novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Yûki Amami (Miyoko), Hiroshi Abe (Yohei). Schoolteacher Yohei is married to Miyoko. For the first time in 25 years they begin to live by themselves when their son marries and moves out. Then Yohei discovers that all’s not well in his marriage.

Sunday September 4, 17h30 (CI.04.5) COMP

Good Morning Show (グッドモーニングショー / Guddo Moningu Sho): Japan, 2016, 103 min.; Dir./Scr.: Ryoichi Kimizuka; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kento Hayashi, Zen Kajiwara, Haruka Kinami, Shunsuke Daitô, Gaku Hamada, Yô Yoshida, Yutaka Matsushige, Saburô Tokitô. The morning variety show, a staple of television around the world, offers news and entertainment but TV host Shingo didn’t expect to be himself the source of the news and entertainment.

The presence of Isabelle Adjani (as well as the screening of her film Carole Matthieu) has been postponed at the request of the French actress. No new screening date has been announced yet.

Fortunately there’s not only bad news in the festival. It was announced that, out of sheer compassion for movie-makers and movie-goers, from today until next Sunday the Théatre Outremont (1248 avenue Bernard Ouest, near metro Outremont) will start showing movies for the Festival, effectively doubling the number of screens available! Schedule will be announced day by day, but so far today there’s no Japanese movies being shown.

Anyway, enjoy the festival while you can because it might very well be the last!

Press reviews:

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The Seal of the Sun

“On March 11, 2011, the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake struck.”

“On that day, Japan faced the dangers of a catastrophic event that threatened a large segment of the population. The Earthquake knocked out the electricity at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear plant located in Northeastern Japan. The emergency cooling system failed and the temperature inside the nuclear reactor kept climbing. A crisis equal to the Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster was looming.”

“The power plant metamorphosed into a gigantic and menacing monster. Scientists, surprised and shocked by the crisis which quickly expanded well beyond what they had predicted, made several erroneous judgements and decisions. The Prime Minister’s office was thrown into chaos with very little accurate information available to them.”

“Meanwhile, residents were hastily evacuated, forced to say good-bye to their homes. However, a time bomb was ticking without any credible solution to the crisis. Then, the catastrophe began with the explosion of the Unit 1 building. It then cascaded into explosions inside of the Unit 2 and 3 buildings. The countdown to the complete meltdown and total destruction continued and never stopped.”

(Text from production flyer)


WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

This is a docudrama about a very interesting subject: it recount, almost hour by hour, the Fukushima nuclear reactor incident that took place after the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake of March 2011. Unfortunately, what should have been an action movie had a pace way too slow to feel real. And the acting was more often than not exaggerated to the limit of parody. It was rather annoying and distracted from the story. A lot of emphasis was put on the emotion of the characters, probably in an attempt to make the viewers empathize more with their situation.

It’s a political movie set to tell the truth about the events in Fukushima, particularly the inaptitude of the government to handle the crisis and its failure to properly communicate with the company managing the damaged power plant in order to get the timely information that could have help them maker better decision. We see the events unfold from the point of view of a journalist, an assistant to the Prime Minister as well as his wife and child in Tokyo, a family of evacuees from Fukushima and their son working at the power plant.

In the presentation, the producer said (in a gibberish English) that they were proud to have used the real name of the politicians involved in the crisis (the Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his cabinet : mostly Chief Secretary Yukio Edano, his deputy Tetsuro Fukuyama, and Manabu Terata), apparently a premiere in Japan, and yet they have changed the name (at least in the subtitles) of TEPCO, the electrical company managing the power plant — possibly to avoid a lawsuit.

It’s a clearly (but quite clumsy) anti-nuclear advocacy that justly make the point that the Japanese have been made to believe by the corporate and political powers that Japan absolutely need nuclear power while there are plenty of alternatives. If TEPCO is the main culprit for having lied about the severity of the situation, and the government share this guilt for having failed to see through it and act accordingly, ultimately it is the Japanese people themselves who really are to blame for having allowed this policy to take place in the first place. Building nuclear power stations (over fifty of them!) in a country prone to earthquakes and tsunamis was shear madness. It was an accident waiting to happened. It should never have.

The photography is great but the script and editing are a little lacking. Action movies are like jokes: all is in the timing — or, in this case, the pacing. If it is quite an average movie, it is still an interesting subject and nevertheless an enjoyable entertainment.

The Seal of the Sun (太陽 の 蓋 / Taiyō no futa) : Japan, 2016, 130 min.; Dir.: Futoshi Sato; Scr.: Takashi Hasegawa; Phot.: Yukio Komiya; Ed.: Yukiko Kobayashi; Mus.: Micky Yoshino; Sound: Sinichi Yoshii; Prod. Des.: Hajime Oikawa; Prod.: Kaoru Ohtsuka; Exec. Prod.: Tamiyoshi Tachibana; Cast: Yukiya Kitamura, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Shima Ohnishi, Yuri Nakamura, Tomohiro Kaku, Kunihiko Mitamura, Daikichi Sugawara, Yu Kamio, Sota Aoyama, Kenji Anan.

Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 26th, 2016 (Cinema Imperial, 19h00 – the attendance was around 75 to 90 people) as part of the “Focus on the World Cinema” segment. The production team was present to introduce the screening.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

The Seal of the Sun © 2016 「Taiyō no futa」Project / Tachibana Tamiyoshi.

Video of the crew’s introduction of the screening on Vimeo

(Sorry I had camera problems so it’s not very good and incomplete)
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MWFF Update Day 1.2

We are continuing our coverage of this cultural para-olympics

After picking up my media credentials, I rushed back home to grab a bite and my camera, then I quickly came back to the festival to watch the first Japanese movie — which had surprisingly popped up on the most recent schedule update.

The production crew (the usual team of producers, director and actor) was there to introduce their movie, but I unfortunately had camera troubles and couldn’t record the whole presentation (maybe my older, cheaper, less advanced camera would have been better after all?).

The movie was quite interesting because of its subject, but I was rather disappointed by the rendering of the story and the production quality. It felt like a small budget movie while I am sure it was not. Anyway, you’ll see my full comments on the movie as soon as I can transcribe my notes, polish the details and put it online (I have a busy schedule in the next few days — including an aunt funerals — so I cannot promise it will be quick).

In the meantimes, enjoy the festival while you can because, as you know, I fear it may well be the last!

Press reviews:

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MWFF update Day 1

We are continuing our coverage of the festival

What a crazy world! But as long as there’s movies being shown, there’s hope!

Yesterday, we went to the festival office to pick up our press passes. It was chaos and lots of people were running around like headless chicken. We were told that due to a “computer problem” all the accreditation submissions had been lost (bug? crash? lock out of their system? ex-staff sabotage? who knows). I understood that we had to resubmit the request in paper (losiqual if the computer are down), so (taking time off from my day job) I went back this afternoon with a print out of the forms and pictures. It was quieter today at the FFM HQ, but apparently, they simply wanted us to email the pictures again. So I ended up taking a picture of the pictures with my phone and emailing them so they could print them on the press cards.

Now we have our press cards, but they look terrible !

REMINDER: The movies are shown ONLY at the Imperial Cinema, but the schedule has changed (several times) and it KEEPS CHANGING so please check it day by day !

Also note that if you purchased a ticket for a screening that has been re-scheduled, I’ve been told that they would exchange it without problem for a ticket of the screening at the new schedule.

For us, aficionados of Japanese cinema, the festival starts tonight! The first movie shown is:

Friday August 26, 19h00 (CI.26.6) REG

The Seal of the Sun (太陽 の 蓋 / Taiyō no futa) : Japan, 2016, 130 min., japanese with english subtitles; Dir.: Futoshi Sato; Scr.: Takashi Hasegawa; Phot.: Yukio Komiya; Prod.: Kaoru Ohtsuka; Cast: Yukiya Kitamura, Kenji Anan, Sota Aoyama. At 2:46 PM on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experiences a black out due to the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

So far, there are no movies announced for Saturday and Sunday. Barring any further schedule change, the next Japanese movies will be:

Monday August 29, 18h40 (CI.29.6) COMP

Tatara Samurai (たたら侍): Japan, 2016, 135 min.; Dir.: Yoshinari Nishikori; Phot.: Akira Sako; Mus.: Seikou Nagaoka; Cast: Shun Sugata, Denden, Masahiko Tsugawa. When the Amago samurai withdraw their protection of the village of Tatara, famous for their manufacture of the legendary swords, the younger generation — erroneously — believe that guns will suffice.

Tuesday August 30, 19h40 (CI.30.6) HC

Black Widow Business (後妻業 の 女 / Gosaigyō no onna / lit. “Woman of the second wife industry”) : Japan, 2016, 128 min.; Dir./Scr.: Yasuo Tsuruhashi (based on the novel by Hiroyuki Kurokawa); Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Masatô Ibu, Machiko Ono. With 4000 matchmaking agencies across Japan serving some 600,000 clients, especially men and women over 65, the pickings are ripe for “black widows”. But the daughter of one victim decides to investigate.

Enjoy the festival while you can because, who knows, it might be the last one. Ultima forsan…

Press reviews:

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