Distributor takes psychological thriller for US, Canada, UK and Ireland.


Music Box Films has acquired rights Japanese horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s psychological thriller Penance (Shokuzai) for the US, Canada, UK and Ireland.

The distributor plans a summer 2014 US theatrical release followed by DVD and digital platforms.

The four-and-a-half-hour serial drama debuted at Venice in 2012.

Penance begins on a quiet playground when a mysterious stranger approaches a group of young girls, then kidnaps and brutally murders one of them.  Wracked with grief, the victim’s unhinged mother demands that the survivors identify the killer or face a penance of her choosing. Growing up in the shadow of this debt, each of the four women cultivates a warped survival mechanism – avoidance, desperation, fear, or obsession.  

Kurosawa’s previous features include Cure, Charisma and Pulse.

Music Box Films’ president William Schopf negotiated the deal with Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions on behalf of WOWOW, which began airing the drama in January.

“Continuing our tradition of bringing smart international thrillers to the U.S., we’re excited to share this ambitious project with Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s devoted fan base and introduce newcomers to his unparalleled sense of style and craft,” states Music Box Films’ managing director Ed Arentz.