Chicago-based distributors Music Box Films have acquired all distribution rights to Kiyoshi Kurosawa's thriller Penance for the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland. The company plans a theatrical release in early summer 2014, followed by a home video release.
Following the official announcement Music Box Films Managing Director Ed Arentz noted: "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."
Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions also commented: "We are confident that we will have exciting distribution in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland with Music Box. 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."
Made for TV, and running at approximately 4 1/2 hours, Penance was screened at last year's edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Synopsis (courtesy of TIFF): Fifteen years ago, tragedy struck a small town when a young elementary school girl Emili (Hazuki Kimura) was abducted and killed by a stranger. Four girls who had been playing with Emili at the time were the first to discover her body. The abductor is never found and the crime goes unsolved. Crazed with grief, Emili's mother Asako (Kyoko Koizumi) condemns the four girls, none of whom can remember the abductor's face. She tells them, "Do whatever you have to do to find the killer. Otherwise, you can pay a penance that I approve." Deeply affected by Asako's condemnation, the four girls become adults burdened with the curse of "penance," which eventually triggers a chain of tragic events.