Grieve. Avenge. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repent.
Sneak Preview Screening: "Penalty Loop"
followed by a Q&A with director Shinji Araki
and actors Ryuya Wakaba and Yusuke Iseya

Wednesday, March 13 at 6:00 pm*
*Please note early start time.

In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan 2023 99 minutes


Written and directed by: Shinji Araki
Produced by: Yumiko Takebe
Starring: Ryuya Wakaba, Yusuke Iseya, Rio Yamashita, Jin Dae-yeon

Film courtesy of Kino Films

The Covid lockdown affected us all in different ways, but for writer-director Shinji Araki, it was especially tough. Following a high-profile mass murder case, and feeling "a bit out of my mind after spending so many days at home," he became obsessed with the idea that the death penalty wasn't really sufficient for certain crimes, particularly for family members struggling to overcome their grief.

From that initial impetus sprang the inspired madness of Araki's second film, "Penalty Loop," which locates startling new twists that completely subvert the timeworn time-loop genre. An inventive and enthralling combination of bereavement drama, brutal revenger and off-kilter comedy, it is bloody, irreverently funny and deeply poignant. And it's anchored by exhilarating performances from two Japanese stars who have surprising chemistry, generating an unexpected degree of empathy for their characters.

When aspiring painter Jun (a revelatory Wakaba) loses his girlfriend in a grisly killing, he is inconsolable. Eventually, he decides he must seek revenge. On June 6, he puts his perfect plan into action, killing the murderer, Mizoguchi (Iseya, in a memorable comeback), with little difficulty, disposing of his body handily and then… he wakes up the next morning to discover that it is June 6 and Mizoguchi is very much alive. Reluctantly, Jun makes adjustments and repeats his revenge. But no matter how many times he kills, a new morning never arrives. Like a cross between Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" and Tom Cruise in "The Edge of Tomorrow," Wakaba plays an Everyman who learns to kill, and soon does it a little too casually for comfort. Until an ingenious twist exposes the reality of Jun’s predicament…

Please join us for this sneak preview of the endlessly imaginative, ultimately meditative "Penalty Loop" before the film’s Japan release on March 22.

For more (in Japanese):

SHINJI ARAKI is a TV commercial planner and creative director who has worked on numerous TV commercials and music videos. He made his feature directorial debut in 2020 with the unique dystopian mystery "The Town of Headcounts," which was invited to numerous international film festivals. "Penalty Loop" is his second feature.

RYUYA WAKABA made his acting debut on television in 1998 before moving into films in 2005 with "Hinokio: Inter Galactic Love." He has continued to be prolific both on the small screen and the large, working with acclaimed directors like Naomi Kawase, Gakuryu Ishii, Ryuichi Hiroki, Shinsuke Sato, Keisuke Yoshida, Daigo Matsui and Rikiya Imaizumi. His latest role is as the lead in the recent hit "Ichiko" by Akihiro Toda.

YUSUKE ISEYA made his memorable film debut in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "After Life" in 1998, playing the angry young man who refuses to choose his one moment to take to eternity. It ignited his career and he has an armlong list of credits, both in indies and blockbuster commercial films. Among the many highlights are his roles in "Casshern" (2004), "Memories of Matsuko" (2006), "Sukiyaki Western Django" (2007), "Thirteen Assassins" (2010), "Fly Me to the Saitama" (2019) and the "Ruroni Kenshin" series (2014 - 2021).

Please make your reservations at the FCCJ Reception Desk 03 3211-3161 or register from below.
All film screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.
- Karen Severns, Film Committee