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167 Ratings



Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Japan, 2012
Drama, Crime, TV Mini-series


Kiyoshi Kurosawa brings his usual scrupulous gaze to notions of vengeance and guilt in his epic new work. Told in multiple parts, the riveting drama focuses on a mother whose daughter is killed and the four childhood friends who perhaps bear some culpability for the crime.

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Penance Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
It’s a highly sensational story, yet one told with unnerving, sometimes almost absurd restraint. That fluctuating tone only heightens the strange folk-tale aura of Penance, which seems apropos of a director who makes ostensible thrillers of singular grace and psychological depth, sometimes as if on a lark.
November 01, 2015
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Among the ever-increasing number of long form television shows directed by world class cinema auteurs (Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush, Bruno Dumont’s Lil’ Quinquin),Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Penance ranks among the most quietly unsettling… In a televisual landscape of fast-paced overstimulation, Kurosawa breaks the rhythms familiar to viewers to usher in a truly cinematic experience.
October 30, 2015
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[Akiko’s] bedroom, meticulously arranged with suburban comforts of the recent past, might feel like a set from It Follows if Kurosawa didn’t present it as evidence of psychological regression. In “Brother and Sister Bear,” Akiko’s fetishization of her own childhood fuels her antisocial behavior. Penance finds a brilliant symbol for this condition in Akiko’s jump rope, which takes on increasingly malign associations as the episode proceeds.
April 30, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Penance

    One CRIME, 4 CONSEQUENCES on 4 girls in modern Japan. The presence, as SENSUAL as DISTURBED, of singer & actress Kyôko KOIZUMI, poisonously illuminates the 5 fascinating chapters of this story. === Un crime, 4 conséquences sur 4 petites, dans un Japon moderne. La présence, aussi sensuelle que perturbée, de l'actrice & chanteuse Kyôko KOIZUMI, illumine de façon vénéneuse les 5 chapitres passionnants de cette histoire.

  • film_lies101's rating of the film Penance

    Loses the plot a bit during the first half of the 4th episode, which felt like it belonged to another series altogether, The 5th episode probably drags on longer than it needs to, all in all though this was mostly riveting stuff

  • Bizzskip Nurse's rating of the film Penance

    Sakura Ando episode is the best one, the 2nd episode is the weakest of all. But as a whole movie, it is a great take on revenge flick, both visually poetic and dramatic (still think it will be much better not for television so the cinematography work can expose its artistic beauty).

  • David Grillo's rating of the film Penance

    Parts 1 to 3 are extraordinary, 4 is something new and 5 puts it all together and is everything I ever dreamed of from a K.Kurosawa film. Staring at the black screen once the credits rolled by and the music starts playing I retained its legibility all by myself in the dark the distinct feeling and atmosphere was no longer scary it felt more like communion just change the tone or the subject and your already there.

  • Jason's rating of the film Penance

    I have seen the miniseries version, not the theatrical one, but I can assume they both demonstrate the same uneven character, the bookend segments delivering significantly greater dividends than the middle ones. Kiyoshi Kurowsawa is hardwired for this kind of tactile psychospiritual slow burn. Kyôko Koizumi is a force unto herself. I do not understand why it was shot on garbage video. Last hour or so: orgasmic.

  • Mugino's rating of the film Penance

    Kurosawa has crafted another unsettling yet poetic work that is part whodunnit, part treatise on the modern Japanese woman, with echoes of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy. Although the formula of the series establishes itself from the first episode, it never fails to surprise, even when it appears to head toward predictable turns. The five women are phenomenal, especially Koizumi, Ando and Ikewaki.

  • Ostermyers's rating of the film Penance

    TERRIFIC VIRTUOSE MASTERPIECE ! this is on another level, it's not about Japanese cinema, or even cinema anymore. It's so deep as an Antique tragedy !

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Penance

    What sort of 'moron' blames little girls, and won't forgive them? What's up with the micromanaging of teachers? This suffers from bad writing. It takes a lot more effort than this to come up with a 'L'il Quinquin', or 'True Detective'. I don't know if the theatrical version is any better, but I can't imagine it is.

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