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Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012

Director Kurosawa sees way for hope in horror


VENICE — Film director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's interest in the impact of death on those left behind has drawn him to the horror genre, but he says he tries to leave viewers with a sense of hope.

News photo
Fear factor: Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa hangs out Saturday at the 69th Venice Film Festival AP

Kurosawa showed his latest project, "Penance," out of competition at the Venice Film Festival last week.

The five-part serial drama opens with the murder of a young girl and unfolds 15 years later, after the friends who witnessed her death have grown up. Grief-stricken, the girl's mother has placed a curse that will haunt them unless they seek revenge.

"I am quite interested in death, and I wonder what is going to happen after people die, and how it will affect the living people," Kurosawa, 57, said Saturday. "I think there are so many hints hidden in horror films."

Kurosawa said that since childhood he has always enjoyed the emotions conveyed in horror movies and that when he makes a film he wants to leave the audience with hope.

"In a film I think frightening people can be entertaining. That is why I do this kind of movie," he said.

"Penance" is based on a novel he adapted for the screen. The serial nature of the drama created fresh challenges for the director. Kurosawa said it is his first film to cover a span of time, and also his first in which the protagonist of the terror is a woman.

"At the beginning of filming, I was worried if I can still bring some hope to the audience at the end," he said.

Kurosawa, who is not related to the famed Akira Kurosawa, has shown films at the Venice festival twice before, in 1999 with "Barren Illusion" and in 2006 with "Retribution." His film "Tokyo Sonata" won best picture in the 2009 Asian Film Awards.

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