Penance

Penance

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Penance

About the Film

Japanese master of suspense Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s eerie, intense psychological thriller Penance (Shokuzai) unfolds on a sleepy small town playground, when a mysterious stranger approaches a group of young friends, then kidnaps and brutally murders one of the girls. Wracked with grief, the victim’s unhinged mother Asako (Kyoko Koizumi) demands that the shaken survivors identify the killer or face a penance of her choosing.  Growing up in the shadow of this tragic debt, each of the four girls cultivates a warped survival mechanism – avoidance, desperation, fear and obsession.  

A disturbing, sensitively helmed chronicle of post-traumatic stress from a female perspective, Penance offers Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s trademark creepy twists as well as a subtle commentary on Japanese society and gender expectations. This gripping long-form serial drama highlights a new facet of renowned auteur Kurosawa (PULSE, CURE, CHARISMA) and features absorbing performances from a stellar line-up of award-winning, up-and-coming young actresses. 
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Reactions

“A murder mystery of a deliciously twisted sort." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“A powerful new work from a true master. Taken on their individual merits each episode is meticulously well constructed and beautifully performed.” - Todd Brown, Twitchfilm

“Fascinating, expansive piece of work…remarkably consistent and enjoyable…all four actresses are superb” –Oliver Lyttelton, indieWire

“The film’s paradoxical end leaves mainly cold feeling of admiration for the excellent cast, nuanced females roles, the cinematic appeal of the art direction and photography based on variations of the color white, the unexpectedness of Yusuki Hayashi’s score and the boldness of the whole project.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter 

Festivals & Awards

  • Toronto International Film Festival 2012 - Official Selection
  • Fribourg International Film Festival 2013 Grand Prix Award Nominee - Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Winner! Fribourg International Film Festival 2013 - FIPRESCI Prize, Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Cast & Crew

Cast

Asako Adachi: Kyoko Koizumi
Hiroaki Aoki: Teruyuki Kagawa
Sae Kikuchi: Yu Aoi 
Maki Shinohara: Eiko Koike
Akiko Takano: Sakura Ando
Yuka Ogawa: Chizuru Ikewaki 
Takahiro Otsuki: Mirai Moriyama
Tanabe: Kenji Mizuhashi
Koji Takano: Ryo Kase
Keita Murakami: Tomoharu Hasegawa
Mayu Murakami: Ayumi Ito
Detective Moriya: Hirofumi Arai 
Toshi Adachi: Tetsushi Tanaka

Crew

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writers: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (screenplays), Kanae Minato (book) 
Producers: Tomomi Takashima, Yumi Arakawa, Nobuhiro
Cinematography: Akiko Ashizawa
Lighting Director: Hidenori Nagata
Production design: Chie Matsumoto
Original score: Yusuke Hayashi

Technical Info

Production Year: 2012
Countries of Production: Japan
Languages: Japanese
Running Time: 5h 0m
Screen Ratio: 1.77:1
Color: Yes
Rating: Unrated

Theaters

New York
New York
10/31/14

Penance - Press Page

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Awards & Festivals

  • Toronto International Film Festival 2012 - Official Selection
  • Fribourg International Film Festival 2013 Grand Prix Award Nominee - Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Winner! Fribourg International Film Festival 2013 - FIPRESCI Prize, Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Reactions

“A murder mystery of a deliciously twisted sort." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“A powerful new work from a true master. Taken on their individual merits each episode is meticulously well constructed and beautifully performed.” - Todd Brown, Twitchfilm

“Fascinating, expansive piece of work…remarkably consistent and enjoyable…all four actresses are superb” –Oliver Lyttelton, indieWire

“The film’s paradoxical end leaves mainly cold feeling of admiration for the excellent cast, nuanced females roles, the cinematic appeal of the art direction and photography based on variations of the color white, the unexpectedness of Yusuki Hayashi’s score and the boldness of the whole project.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter 

Detailed Film Info

Japanese master of suspense Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s eerie, intense psychological thriller Penance (Shokuzai) unfolds on a sleepy small town playground, when a mysterious stranger approaches a group of young friends, then kidnaps and brutally murders one of the girls. Wracked with grief, the victim’s unhinged mother Asako (Kyoko Koizumi) demands that the shaken survivors identify the killer or face a penance of her choosing.  Growing up in the shadow of this tragic debt, each of the four girls cultivates a warped survival mechanism – avoidance, desperation, fear and obsession.  

A disturbing, sensitively helmed chronicle of post-traumatic stress from a female perspective, Penance offers Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s trademark creepy twists as well as a subtle commentary on Japanese society and gender expectations. This gripping long-form serial drama highlights a new facet of renowned auteur Kurosawa (PULSE, CURE, CHARISMA) and features absorbing performances from a stellar line-up of award-winning, up-and-coming young actresses.

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Trailer

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