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The Apology King

World Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2013
  • 128 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)

“Dogeza” is the age-old Japanese practice of apologizing profusely and intensely, a staple of Japanese manners that requires one to kneel to the ground and bow down until one’s head touches the floor. It is the ultimate expression of repentance, and a subtle art form in and of itself. It is such a thing, in fact, that eccentric motivational speaker Yuzuru Kurojima (Sadao Abe) has decided to open the Tokyo Apology Centre, out of which he coaches clients in the “Supra-Dogeza” — advising people to apologize in a variety of cases ranging from a young girl accidentally crashing her car into a yakuza vehicle to a lawyer wanting to apologize to his daughter for having hit her early in life, and a film producer needing to apologize to an entire country for having accidentally captured their crown prince on camera. Soon, however, Kurojima finds himself in over his head, as the cases start to intersect and he must somehow find a way to go “beyond dogeza” to avoid international conflict!

A vibrant comedic collaboration between director Nobuo Mizuta (MAIKO HAAAAN!!!) and the prolific and always excellent Sadao Abe (PACO AND THE MAGICAL PICTURE BOOK, THE GREAT YOKAI WAR) alongside other beloved Japanese actors such as the hilarious YosiYosi Arakawa (seen in FINE, TOTALLY FINE, and in KEY OF LIFE, which also playing this year), THE APOLOGY KING is a wild, satirical look at Japanese manners that will delight fans of off-kilter Japanese comedies, finding Sadao Abe relying on heavy mannerisms and precise interjections, blending gag-oriented absurdist humour with a more subtle, incisive and inward-looking comedy of manners digging into typical Japanese customs, its showbiz industry and the character types found within. Very particular in its humour, screenwriter Kankuro Kudo (ZEBRAMAN, PING PONG) builds his story as a relentless escalation of cases for Yuzuru Kurojima and his team to tackle successively, and it is in their cumulative effect that THE APOLOGY KING succeeds, defying expectations of scale and thrusting the viewer into a complex, absurd and hilarious supra-case in need of more fixing than a simple apology can provide. With this one, you’ll rock your head back and forth, but from laughter rather than repentance, we can assure you.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer