Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 226: Thu Dec 30

Shall We Dance (Suo, 1996): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.40pm

This film, also screening on December 21st, is part of the Japan season at BFI Southbank.

Time Out review: This entertaining Japanese comedy opens with a dreamy shot of Blackpool's Tower Ballroom, but it's back in suburban Tokyo that Masayuki Suo's film really begins. A salaryman (Yakusho) is locked in routine until curiosity gets the better of him: each evening, from the train, he sees a beautiful woman gazing out of the window of a ballroom dancing class, and one night he plucks up the courage to go in. As lessons progress, his secret cannot remain hidden for long - dancing has entered his bloodstream and he'll never be the same again. All he needs now is the girl. While the film's balancing act, between the love interest in fragile beauty Tamiyo Kusakari and the call of the protagonist's domestic ties, is ultimately contrived, unlike Hollywood tosh, it never feels blatantly manipulative. The salaryman's reserve carries a significant charm, and although the overly careful pacing at times threatens to dull our involvement, director Suo still knows when to throw in the comic fizz. The real star of the show is Naoto Takenaka as the office colleague transformed into a rumba tornado. Trevor Johnston 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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