Dance With Me: Why This Free Wellness Musical Is Perfect For The Weekend
Dance with me (to be confirmed, 103 minutes) Directed by Shinobu Yaguchi **** Â½
Shizuka Suzuki (Ayaka Miyoshi) is not a fan of musicals.
A serious young woman with big ambitions, the office worker at Yotsuba Holdings describes them as “strange” and “for idiots”.
Forced to look after her niece on the same weekend that she agreed to help big boss and office hottie Ryosuke Murakami (Takahiro Miura) with many papers, Shizuka belatedly decides to reward her young accusation for two boring days of imprisonment with a trip to Fortune Earth. After the latter opens up and voices her fears about her impending performance in the school musical, Shizuka decides the best way to inspire her is to visit the hypnotist at the temporary theme park. However, Martin Ueda’s (Akira Takrada) powers of persuasion turn out to be a little too powerful – and slightly misguided.
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âWhenever you hear music, you won’t be able to help singing or dancing,â is a mantra that quickly becomes a nightmare for Shizuka. Hear every tune of a melody, mini-melody, or cell phone ringtone, and it uncontrollably bursts into motion and begins to sing.
Understandably, this quickly becomes mortifying and potentially dangerous to her life and career, as she is nearly whisked away by a bus, interrupts a board meeting, and virtually destroys an entire restaurant by faking elaborate routines.
When she is informed that she will need the original practitioner to reverse the curse, a desperate hunt for Ueda begins. But, as a traveling showman, he’s long gone, however, with the help of his disgruntled former assistant Chai (the hilarious Yu Yashiro) and ramshackle private investigator Yoshio Watanabe (Tsuyoshi Muro), Shizuka follows his path. track to the north.
What follows is a delicious road movie musical filled with memorable moments and quirky characters. Our trio find themselves caught in the middle of a gang war (and forced to dance to get by) and meet an abandoned street musician (a stage thief Chai) who has a cake knife – and a grudge. Along the way, we learn about the trauma (familiar to viewers of this year’s television comedy We Are Lady Parts) that apparently kept Shizuka away from lifelong musicals and became more and more invested in the search for the elusive Ueda.
Having made a career out of underdog stories (his 2001 comedy Waterboys became a television series that spanned three seasons), the seething story of writer-director Shinobu Yaguchi is a delightful and heartwarming film that surprisingly lingers long after the credits roll.
I saw this for the first time at the Macau International Film Festival in December 2019 and since then I have been looking for an opportunity to share it with my fellow Kiwis. It’s now available to stream for the next few days, free of charge, as part of a “sneak peek” for next year’s Japanese online film festival. If you’re a fan of Asian cinema, musicals, or just need a boost, this is the perfect weekend getaway.
Radiant with charisma and grace, Miyoshi is an impressive physical artist (she apparently took 250 hours of dance lessons to prepare for the role) who also possesses excellent comedic timing, the finely choreographed numbers are a hoot and the songs eclectic. , many of them The ‘Eternal’ Japanese tunes of the 1970s and 1980s contain plenty of killer delicacies.
Offering a view of modern Japan – and Japanese cinema – not often seen, take this rare opportunity and Dance with Me while you can.
With romantic dramas Little nights, Little love and The Grand Passage, animated short Gox, the little fox and documentary Tora-san in Goto, Dance with Me is available to stream from the Japanese Film Festival Online until 8:59 p.m. on Monday, November 22 evening.