Japanese cinema has never been more accessible than this: Masayuki Suo has come up with an elegant and charming commentary on marriage, and on Asians' adoption of the more quirky aspects of British culture. On his way home from work each day, married suburban businessman Shohei Sugiyama (Koji Yakusho) sees, and is duly entranced by, a beautiful woman named Mai Kishikawa (Tamiyo Kusakari), who spends a lot of her time gazing out of her window. He discovers that she's a ballroom-dancing teacher and starts to take lessons as an excuse to spend time with her.
With its uncluttered cinematography and crisp framing, Shall We Dance? provides a pleasing oriental take on the French film-making sensibility - and, more importantly, it has some genuinely funny sequences. Despite the far-too-protracted last quarter, this is still a rare arthouse treat, and it deserves to be seen in its full glory on the big screen.