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

Kurosawa showed his latest project, "Penance," out of competition at the Venice Film Festival this 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 a death, and I wonder what is going to happen after people die, and how it will affect the living people," Kurosawa, 57, said in an interview 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 a horror movie and that when he makes a film he wants to leave the audience with a sense of 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 which he adapted to a screenplay. The serial nature of the drama created some fresh challenges for the director. Kurasawa said it is his first film to cover a span of time, and also his first in which the protagonist of the film's 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 famed late Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, has shown films on the Lido 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.