Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shall We Dance?

Masauki Suo, 1995, Japan (8.7*)
One of my favorite Japanese films, about a commuter, Koji Yakusho, who nightly passes a dance studio on his commuter train and is increasingly attracted by a woman he sees there; he diligently watches for the studio on his daily trip. Eventually the shy man goes in and signs up for lessons. His attraction begins with the lovely instructor, but he begins to love ballroom dancing. This simple and unpretentious romance grows on you as you experience Koji's tranformation.

This is a very subtle, very Asian film compared to a western one, but it's popularity and uniqueness led to an inferior remake here with Richard Gere. One of the most critically successful Japanese films ever, it won 52 awards worldwide out of just 55 nominations; that means only three losses. In Japan, it won a record 14 of 15 Japanese academy awards - it's only loss was supporting actress, while actress Tamiyo Kusakari won 2 awards for her performance.

I find it amazing that this film is not ranked on the IMDB top 250, perhaps it just needs more to rate it - so by all means go there and give it your rating. This is one of the best romance films ever made, and one of the best G-rated films as well.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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