Music Box Films Buys Kurosawa’s ‘Penance’ for U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland

U.S. theatrical release set for next summer, followed by DVD and digital platforms

Kurosawa Penance

Music Box Films, the Chicago-based arthouse distributor, has nabbed rights to “Penance” (“Shokuzai”),  Japanese genre master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s eerie psychological thriller, for the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland.

Deal was announced at Mipcom, the TV showcase set in Cannes.

Music Box Films plans a U.S. theatrical release next summer, followed by DVD and digital platforms. The 4½-hour serial drama world-preemed at Venice in 2012.

“Penance” opens with a mysterious stranger who approaches a group of young girls at a playground, then kidnaps and brutally murders one of them.  The drama  follows the victim’s mother as she demands that the four girls who survived identify the killer or face a penance. Each of the four women have grown up in the shadow of this tragic debt and have developed a survival mechanism of avoidance, desperation, fear, or obsession.

“Penance” is the newest addition to Music Box’s slate of provocative foreign television acquisitions, joining Sweden’s “Wallander,” Germany’s “Generation War” and France’s “The Returned.”

Music Box Films’ prexy William Schopf negotiated the deal with Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Prods. on behalf of WOWOW, which started airing the show 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 fanbase and introduce newcomers to his unparalleled sense of style and craft,” states Music Box Films’ managing director Ed Arentz.

“We are confident that we will have exciting distribution in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland with Music Box,” said Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Prods. “This film has been distributed in many territories and achieved great results all over the world. We are excited to introduce a new dimension of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s artistry.”