April 23rd, 2007
This is the Japanese original of this ballroom dancing flick, not the 2004 US remake. With English subtitles.
Here’s what the title shot looks like. I think it is pronounced “Shall We Dansu,” although the poster simply has it as “Shall We Dance.”
A prologue explains that most Japanese are too reserved to dance in public. Salaryman Sugiyama is married with a daughter, a good job and a house in the suburbs, but something is missing. From the subway platform he spies Mai, the beautiful, melancholy dancing teacher, and a new phase of his life begins.
Sugiyama takes dancing lessons and enters a competition. Here is Sugiyama with his dancing partner and another student.
Sugiyama isn’t a very good dancer, but he has a grave dignity and he looks nice in a tuxedo. He and Mai do not have an affair. His wife hires a detective to find out what he has been doing, and when she finds out, nothing in particular happens. Here Sugiyama shows his wife a few steps in the back yard.
This is a warm, sweet, low-key movie with quirky characters and minimal action. It might make you want to take dancing lessons. (But I didn’t.) Highly recommended.
The American remake starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez is unnecessary.