MARRAKECH — Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Penance”) is set to make his first venture outside of Japan with a romance-laced genre drama set around Paris with “The Past” thesp Tahar Rahim on board.

While in Marrakech to attend the homage to Japanese cinema, Kurosawa told Variety his next film is being produced by a French company and will start shooting in February. The helmer, whose latest movie, “Seventh Code,” opened at Rome and earned him the best director nod, said the movie will be a love story, with Rahim cast in one of the two leading roles.

Since breaking through with Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet,” Rahim has been leading a strong international career and has worked with renowned auteurs including Lou Ye (“Love and Bruises”), Joachim Lafosse (“Our Children”) and Asghar Farhadi (“The Past”).

“It will talk about France today in a symbolic way, and it will have horror elements. It will not be a realistic movie,” added Kurosawa, who is keeping the plot and other details under wrap.

Kurosawa’s motivation to shoot his next movie outside of Japan and come to France is primarily pragmatic.

“That film is based on an original idea, and in Japan, it’s become nearly impossible to raise the financing for a movie which is not adapted from a franchise or a manga and doesn’t have a micro budget,” explained Kurosawa, who has previously spoken about his love of French directors, notably Claire Denis. “France remains very open to original ideas, and it has a fairly generous financing system.”

The director has just wrapped “Journey by the Shore” (“Kishibe no tabi”), an adaptation of Kazumi Yumoto’s novel penned by Kurosawa and Takashi Ujita.

A mystery drama, “Shore” toplines a pair of Japanese stars Tadanobu Asano (“Thor: The Dark World”) and Eri Fukatsu (“Villain”). Fukatsu plays a woman whose husband returns home after mysteriously disappearing for three years. The pair embark on a trip to visit all the people who helped him during his voyage.

Kurosawa argued the end of the studio system in Japan has driven the emergence of a “new generation of filmmakers who are making smaller-budgeted films in a new way that’s more auteur-driven and not so much industrialized.”

While we have more freedom as directors today, we’re also more limited in the kind of films we can do with smaller budgets. “I can’t make a samurai film like Akira Kurosawa would do, so my movies are often about daily life in Tokyo.”

Kurosawa, who has often been named the godfather of Japan’s genre directors, said he’s been “approached by studios in the past but nothing concrete came out of it.”