Shall We Dance?

Director: Masayuki Suo
Screenwriters: Masayuki Suo

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Gently straddling humor and pathos, Masayuki Suo’s Shall We Dance? is an enchanting and rich romantic comedy that cuts to the heart of an individual’s struggle for expression amidst societal oppression. An ordinary, middle-aged sarari-man (middle-management businessman) named Syohei has fulfilled his preordained path of moderate accomplishments and appropriate advancements. Riding home from work one day, Syohei glimpses the melancholy figure of a beautiful woman. Captivated by her mournful stare, he tracks Mae down to discover that she is the senior instructor at a dance academy and formerly one of Japan’s finest ballroom dancers.

Shameful of both his attraction to Mae and his unabashed fascination with the dance hall, Syohei secretly enrolls as a student at the academy. Hiding his new obsession from family and coworkers, the comically ungainly businessman commits to dancing with unbridled abandon In Syohei’s newfound grace and devotion, the disenchanted Mae rediscovers her onetime passion for the art of dance. Beyond its deceptively simple comedic premise, Shall We Dance? evolves as an affectionate portrait of a simple man’s emergence from the stifling blanket of internalized repression.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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