A blog to remember Gilles Laurent, who died in Brussels Attack in the middle of making his film about Fukushima / this blog is organized by his wife Reiko Udo

マイクをつけて。I am with a small microphone now.



I had lots of feedback about the column 'A Person' in Asahi Newspaper. It is the newspaper which used to be delivered to home every morning in my childhood. And...it is one of the widely-known columns.


However I myself did not do anything actually. I did not direct the film. I just kept holding it tightly in my hands, had supports from people, and then reached at this stage and they wanted to describe me as 'A Person' of that day in Japan.  But to be honest,of course I felt happy.


I just realised that Gilles had put a small microphone on me when he passed away. Normally it is sound engineer's work to put it inside the clothes of actors. Then the voice can be recorded and reaches to public. Literally these days, I sometimes get this kind of microphone on me when TV crew comes.


His device of work, a microphone. Now it is on my throat. Ok, I will keep speaking as if I am always with you, I say to him in my heart.



Here is an English translation for the artcile (helped by my father as a translator).


The Asahi Shimbun (Morning paper); Nationwide Newspaper

February 23 (Thursday), 2017

“A PERSON” ('hito')

Mrs. Reiko Udo (47)

The posthumous film made by her husband who passed away in the terrorism attack is to be screened soon.


She lost her husband, Gilles Laurent (46, at that time) on March 22, last year because of the terrorism attack in Belgium. The documentary film “LA TERRE ABANDONNÉE (the Abandoned Land)” which her husband, an ex-sound engineer directed for the first time depicts Fukushima after the accident of Tokyo Elcetric Power Company’s Fukushima No.1 Plant. It is now to be released from March 11 all over Japan successively.


She herself is an editor of a publishing company. She married him in 2010 and after her childcare in Belgium, they began to live in Tokyo together with two daughters from the end of 2013. She says, “Gilles loved Nature, and was very concerned about Fukushima after the accident.”


Mr. Gilles Laurent filmed the scenes in Tomioka town and Minamisoma City from summer to autumn in 2015. He came back to his mother country Belgium to edit the film. Mrs. Reiko Udo looks back at the time and says “It was the day when he was going to give a preview of the film to his colleagues. He encountered the terrorism attack in the subway on his way to the editing studio. It was almost an instantaneous death.”


Her opportunity of getting to her feet from the bottom of lamentation, was an American newspaper article that reported her husband’s death. It said,“He had filmed Fukushima.” Then she thought “I want people to know his first and last work.” Then she began to start  the blog with some hesitation first, and kept writing her feelings about his idea and passion toward his own work. “I could get the mission and become positive at last.”


We do not find any loud insistence in the film. Instead, the sound of wind and the twittering of birds are heard somewhere in far away. The film depicts the daily routines of the people living with their firm roots in Fukushima even after the nuclear power plant’s disaster. Mrs. Reiko Udo says, “I feel myself I can meet Gilles each time when I watch the film. What does our hometown mean to us? What does our family mean? What is ‘life’ for us first of all? …I wish all the people who view this film would find their own answers through it.”


The text and photo: Erina Itoh

Cf. Digital interview is also available. (no English subtitles, sorry)



松村さんへの手紙。その2 ”Dear Matsumura-san” from Gilles, no.2



After Gilles actually met Matsumura-san, he decided to make a film. And he visited the place again to take photos. Here is a letter he wrote in his own Japanese expressing the gratitude to Matumura-san at that time. I copy and paste it below.



撮影は2014年10月2日。松村さんに案内してもらって、彼の生活圏をロケハンして回ったようです。This photo was taken on 2nd or Ocboter, 2014. He had Matsumura-san as his own guide in the area.




(原文:the original text by Gilles, on 4th of October, 2014)


松村さん、 おとといについて ありがとう ございました。 私に ほんとう に おもしろかた。;松村さんにめんどくさくなかったとねがいます。 木曜日にあってからおもしろいことをいっしょにできるとおもうので映画に がんばりつづけます。 Let's keep in touch. ローラン ジル


(translation by Reiko today)

Daer Matsumura-san, thank you very much for the day before yesterday. I enjoyed it so much. I hope it was not boring for you. After I met you on thursday, I am thinking that I can do something interesting with you and I am determined to make efforts for the film. Let's keep in touch. Gilles Laurent

松村さんへの手紙。 ”Dear Matsumura-san” from Gilles



I have been asked by many journalists why Gilles wanted to make this film. I was answering in my way with all my memories, but here I find a letter as an evidence. 


The letter from Gilles to Matsumura-san. He wrote in English and I translated and sent it to him. Here below I copy and paste it.


As he has written here, he just wanted to record an interview first. But after he actually saw him and the scenary, his wish changed dramatically to make a film. It was written on 18th of August, 2014.



Dear Matsumura-san,


First of all, I would like shortly to present myself

and let you know the purpose of my letter.

I’m a sound engineer working for  the film and radio industry.

I’m actually living in Japan for the moment, for a period of a bit more than one year. I’m a belgian citizen and my wife Reiko is japanese.  

I ‘m writing to you as I would like to devellop a project of documentary for radio about  your current experience and action.


I have been sensitive and interested in ecology with a firm position against nuclear energy since a long time ago.  So since march 2011, 

I have been investigating about the process of the situation of post-desaster, here in Japan. Especially since we arrived  last November, I have been really surprised with the lack of information, and the irresponsible behaviour of the japanese governement regarding this situation. Through discussions I realized  that the relationship between medias, governement and industries do not offer an easy way for information and truth to spread freely and reach everyone.


I kept investigating and through the « Fukushima blog » I discovered your experience and your  action that eventually made me really impressed. Because of the courage, the sense of honour,  but  as well and maybe more than everything, because of these beautiful qualities called compassion and empathy.  Another impressive aspect of your quest, from my point of view,  is that  you face the past and the future with your present action at the same time. From what I could read  and hear, you keep facing the past  and its consequencies through your action with animals there in the  red/closed zone, and at the same time, you face the future,  protesting by your presence in  Tomioka, and being active in a protest against nuclear energy.


That’s why, because of the feelings above-mentionned, I would like to give to  your « voice », more « echo »  and  let your action to be known by another and wider public.  

That is the reason why I’m writing to you, to know if you would be interested to be involved in this project.  I hope it could raise public awareness, to hopefully change people’s mentality  about nuclear energy and maybe prevent another disasters, but as well to make people sensitive about the strenghth  and importance of compassion.

The goal would be to broadcast it on radios as I consider it as a perfect media to share someone’s experience.



I have been in contact with Antionio Pagnotta. I am really happy now to get his help, answering my questions to go ahead in this project. 

I really like his work and have been really touched by the sensibility of the pictures and texts he wrote about « Le dernier homme de Fukushima ».


I’m sorry that I had to write this letter in English and that I could not communicate directely with you in Japanese. I’m now actively learning japanese since I arrived in Japan, but unfortunely, even if it allows me now to understand things, it is still really difficult for me to speak well and my level is anyway still low…  That’s the reason why I have to proceed in this way with the thankful translation of my wife.  


I already want to thank you very much for your attention,

and I’m now looking forward to hearing from you.


My warmest regards,


Gilles Laurent


























初めての富岡町。First time in Tomioka.


富岡町の松村さん宅。到着した時は猫のしろや犬のイシに餌をあげているところでした。When I arrived at Matsumura-san's place, he was feeding the cat Shiro and the dog Ishi.



On 15th of February, I finally visited Tomioka. Maybe people would ask me why finally ? Why didn't you do it before ?... I was questioning myself too.



The reason why my husband died is the accumulation of all the moments. But I was wondering it is mainly due to the fact that I brought him to Japan and let him determine to make a film. Then the existence of this town, Tomioka is the definite piece to lead to that destiny.



To be honest I had a kind of small regret or sense of guilty, and it had kept me for a while from the idea to visit there.



But I was finally be able to be inside Matsumura-san's house, look at the things on the wall, check the difference of the land, and Mrs. Hangai held me tight saying 'Poor girl' walmly... I also heard the announce saying 'We hear sometimes bears appear...so please be careful', but at the same time this land will be permitted to live from April. There are things that you can finally experience and feel after the real visit.



Two hours drive from Tomioka, and then I arrived at the theater, Forumu Fukushima for one day screening. Matsumura-san also joined the talk event after. I had thought that Matsumura-san was not interested in speaking about Gilles so much before, but what he referred to first was the complicated feeling he had, too. Of course he was shocked too. Yes, he is a kind of extreme humanist like Gilles, then it was difficult for him to speak about the real feeling too. We had shared the same kind of feeling.



There was another person who joined the talk event, a lawyer regarding Fukushima, Mr. Managi. He said 'This film is about five senses. I also think it is very important and I suggest judges always to go to the places by themselves. It is important to be out of the buildings.'



Yes, this film is about five senses. That is a very refreshing feeling and just by seeing the film, you feel that you are there already.



By the way I had a strange imression that the road to Tomioka really ressembled that to Bouillon, his hometown. I realised that Gilles loved this land. I am happy that I finally 'met' the land where he poured his passion.



Now maybe he is saying that he was happy to meet me, happy to have children, and happy that he was finally able to make a film. Thank you very much for going there... I feel in this way.




It was an important moment for me to reconcile my feeling and welcome the moment that the film will be released soon. Now after the screening in Belgian Embassy in Tokyo in December, that in my hometwon Kitakyushu-city in January, and then finally I could arrive to Fukushima in February and connect the same feel for Tomioka.

Tomioka. This is an important hometown for people who used to live here too.

映画に「おかえり」と言った。I said 'welcome back' to the film.


Here is the 'photo document' of my travle to Tomioka, Fukushima. I visited there on the way to Fukushima-city for one day screening. I was finally able to visit Mr. Matsumura's and Mr. and Mrs. Hangai's house.



The land which used to be full of weeds, where Mr. Matsumura's father was sitting and facing is now looking like a plane land after decontamination.




The way to Mr. Matsumura's house was surrounded by woods and it looked exactly like a way to Bouillon (Belgium), Gilles' hometown.




Mr. Matsumura looked cool as usual. He said 'I like this town because I was born and bred here.)




Mrs. Hangai's Origami tools.




They welcomed me as if they were my real grand parents.




Fukushima is huge. The way from Tomioka to Fukushima-city included Iidate village and there was snow.




Two hours from Tomioka, beyond mountains. The view of the city came into my eys suddenly.




The journey to the place where the film was born. I said 'Welcome back! ' to the film.



To be continued...

感想コラージュ。Feedback from early audience in Japan









自分のすぐ傍にも そんな人がいたので、思い出しました。
そして、松村直登さんも ジル・ローラン監督も、
そういう微かなはずの音が 生のまま身体に飛び込んでくる感覚でした。
正直 そうした調整を全く感じることなく
生音として聞いている感覚にしてくれる 心地良い音作りに驚きました。
ご主人の想いが より多くの方々に伝わることを願っております。(40代男性)


















English translation of Tokyo Shimbun (newspaper) on 5th of February




Tokyo Shimbun: February 5 (Sunday), 2017


Here is Fukushima the Husband gazed at.

The Victim of terrorism in his mother country.

The film is to be opened to the public next month. We hung on his wife Udo-san’s every word.

The film “La Terre Abandonnée” in which the late Gilles Laurent had pursued the daily routines of the people who lived in Fukushima after the nuclear power plant’s accident. He was from Belgium, and died because of the concurrent terrorism in Belgium in March last year, (46 years old at that time). We listened to the late Gilles Laurent’s wife Reiko Udo-san, who exerted herself for the posthumous work’s showing on a screen, looking for everything she felt in the film. ; (Kyoko Ando)

★The photo: “I hope this film would give us an opportunity to deliberate on the weight of life.” says Reiko Udo-san. The film will be released all over Japan from next month. (At Shibuya in Tokyo Metropolis)


“I’d like to put a question to people about ‘the preciousness of life’.”

“The film has become a work which has shot a question to people about the precious ness of life, including Gilles’ death.” Udo-san began to talk like this, repeating her appreciation of the fellow workers.


This film is a documentary which depicts three families living in Tomioka town and Minamisoma town in Fukushima Prefecture which have been damaged by the nuclear power plant accident. The wind that blows through the deserted green land, and the feather of a butterfly that was caught in a spider’s web….These natural scenes in Fukushima were loved by Mr. Laurent, and he showed them silently in the film.


The man who continues to stay at his own home in order to take care of the animals left behind, vents his anger on Tokyo Power Plant Company, by saying “They said they never let leak radioactivity absolutely. They are liars! They aren’t human beings!”….

“All living things on our globe depend on one another for survival thanks to water and earth.” And by the side of another man working in the field, the sound of a heavy machine with which injects the decontaminated earth into the black sacks buzzes.


The film was completed by the late Laurent’s colleagues after three months of his death. Reiko-san “cherishes the late Gilles Laurent’s anger toward the power plant company which has made the land where human beings cannot live, and also his line of calm sight toward the animals and plants.” “These are in fact Gilles himself.” “It seems to me that his own feeling was brought back to life.”


Mr. Laurent had been a sound engineer in the field of films who had hustled about all over the European countries based in Belgium. He married Udo-san in 2010, who is an editor of a woman’s magazine, and was blessed with two daughters. In 2013, when Udo-san’s childcare leave was over, he emigrated from Belgium to Tokyo together with all his family.


Mr. Laurent had been also against the nuclear power generation, judging from the past experience, that is, the disaster of Chernobyl which is adjacent to Europe. Because “what the government says is not accepted without question, and Fukushima is not the sort of incident you can just ignore.” Therefore, he began to film a movie in August, 2015, at Fukushima as the director by himself in order to hear from the sufferers.


In the morning of March 22, 2016 when Gilles-san had returned to his country, Brussels metropolis all alone temporally, in order to edit the film after finishing shooting the scenes…. He had been drawn into direct involvement in an explosion terrorism inside a car of the subway bound for his studio…. He was one of the 32 victims because of the simultaneous terrorism attack including that at airport, too.


There were a map of Fukushima and acorns Mr. Laurent had picked up together with his daughters in Tokyo, in his rucksack broken by the force of the explosion. Reiko-san says “What was the most significant were life, nature, and to have a family and be able to live together.”


The film her husband left also told the same thought. Udo-san tells us with all her strength that “this is a story of everyone’s spiritual home.”


The exhibition of this film in Belgium had been fixed. But here in japan, its distribution remained undecided. Therefore, Udo-san searched high and low for the places of showing on a screen. “The movie concerning Fukushima is not profitable.” hesitated anyone. However, Mr. Kazuyoshi Okuyama, a film producer, offered his cooperation.

Mr. Okuyama places a high value on the film. “This film leaves a sense of its creator as a temperature. The tranquil images sank deeply into our mind.”


Udo-san hopes “In spite of the disaster of Fukushima, nuclear power generation never be gone from Japan. What we call terrorism is, as it were, a sudden death of an ordinary human being like Gilles. The world is linked. So we have to continue to desire peace. I’d like this film to be a start for remembering how to do in order to change the world.


The film is to be opened to the public successively from March at “the Theater Imageforum” in Shibuya, Tokyo, and in some other cities.


★Central photo: Director of the late Gilles Laurent filming on location. (Photographed in September, 2015)


(Translation by my father, Yasutaka Udo)


 The official website of “La Terre Abandonnée”



Information of the theater in Tokyowww.imageforum.co.jp