Representativesfrom UniJapan, the Japanese film industry's export body, and the FrenchNational Film Centre (CNC) signed a protocol for mutual cooperation in filmproduction and distribution at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14.

CNC DirectorGeneral Catherine Colonna and UniJapan chairman Kaoru Yosano and TokyoInternational Film Festival chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa participated in thesigning of the protocol, which is a first step toward a Japan-Franceco-production treaty.

The first fruitof the protocol, also announced at the protocol signing, is The End ofHappiness (Kofuku no Ketsumatsu), a new drama by Jinsei Tsuji (Filament, Sennen no Tabibito, Hotoke) that will be produced and distributed inboth Japan and France. Tsuji told reporters that he has been in France for thepast two years 'looking for a new stimulus' and that the new film'is a splendid opportunity, because I hope to keep making films inFrance.'

The film, a lovestory set in Brussels, Paris and Tokyo, is Tsuji's first in three years. He isalso writing the script, based on a novel published by Kadokawa ShotenPublishing in Japan. The novel will also be released in France under the titleOrigami. With production assistance from Luc Besson's Europa Corp., Tsuji plansto begin principal photography next spring. The cast has yet to be decided.