Shall We Dance? (1995)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Dance Film, Romantic Comedy, Comedy of Manners, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 11, 1997 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 135 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Reminiscent of the Australian hit Strictly Ballroom (1992), this romantic comedy from Japan was a hit in its country of origin, despite (or perhaps because of) its tacit criticisms of the restrictive aspects of Japanese culture. Shohei Sugiyama (Koji Yakusho) is a typically strait-laced Japanese businessmen who, passing by in his commuter train one day, glimpses a beautiful young woman, Mai (real-life ballerina Tamiyo Kusakari) through the window of a dance school. Obsessed with her, Shohei enrolls in the school and meets instructor Mai, who at first mistakes Shohei for a philanderer. To her surprise, however, Shohei is a naturally gifted dancer interested in an artistic partnership only, and Mai begins training with him for a competition. Meanwhile, Shohei becomes familiar with his eccentric fellow students, including one person that Shohei already knows, a co-worker (Akira Emoto) who blooms in the dance sessions as a bewigged master of rumba. As dancing is frowned upon in Japan as a frivolous enterprise for a respectable businessman, Shohei keeps his sideline hobby secret, leading his wife to believe that he's being unfaithful and to hire a private investigator to follow him.

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ballroom-dance, businessperson, dance-lessons, dance-student, marital-problems, competition, Japanese [nationality]