“A disquieting fresco of disturbed minds and wounded souls, Penance is a quiet masterpiece of mounting intensity.”
— Toronto International Film Festival
Nine-year old Emili is found dead in her school’s gymnasium. The murderer is never found. Four of her friends saw him but remember nothing. The girl’s mother, Asako, brings them together and demands that they find the murderer or pay a penance. Fifteen years later, the girls are women, each more dysfunctional than the next. With the killer still at large, Asako resurfaces to collect her due.
Five disturbed women and a mother’s revenge, set in a world where everything is connected and nothing is forgotten: this is the premise of an extraordinary made-for-TV serial drama that doubles as a film event. In the hands of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the godfather of J-horror (Cure, Tokyo Sonata and Charisma, this year), the result is a nail-biting psychodrama that has taken everyone by surprise. A superb and ambitious five-part reflection on guilt and remorse, this is the latest, morally ambiguous adaptation of a book by Kanae Minato, following Tetsuya Nakashima’s memorable adaptation of Confessions (which won the
Temps Ø Grand Prize in 2010).