American bank robber Willie Sutton, who allegedly made more than $2 million over a 40-year criminal career, once told a reporter that he robbed banks because "that's where the money is." In the usual heist movie, however — with Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" (1956) serving as a template — the stolen dough soon proves to be a disastrous sort of fairy gold. Instead of rich, the crooks end up arrested or dead. Sutton himself spent more than half his adult life behind bars.

Rika Umezawa (Rie Miyazawa), the heroine of Daihachi Yoshida's powerfully told immorality tale "Kami no Tsuki (Pale Moon)," is a different sort of thief. Instead of a hardened criminal, plotting a holdup or a bank vault break-in, she is a housewife turned bank employee who slips, ever so reluctantly, into embezzlement.

Aged 41 when the story starts in 1994 — after Japan's economic bubble has burst but before Internet use was widespread — she seems to be the soul of propriety as she visits her elderly clients in their homes to collect their deposits or advise them on investments. Soon, though, she is using her insider knowledge of forms and procedures to siphon some of that money into her own pocket.