Cast: Akira Takarada, Ayaka Miyoshi, Takahiro Miura, Yuu Yashiro
Opening Night Film, 2019 Japan Cuts Festival of New Japanese Film
Everything’s going right for Shizuka Suzuki – the perfect job opportunity, a handsome prospective boss – until she’s unexpectedly hypnotized at a traveling show, and now breaks into song and dance any time she hears music. Suddenly, any ordinary source – a panhandling guitarist, a cellphone ringtone, a waiter singing happy birthday – triggers a showstopping, confetti-filled Broadway number starring Shizuka. As she discovers, music is everywhere in Tokyo, and where she fears it most is at her prestigious new desk job. Before that feared humiliation, she must hunt down the quack hypnotist, now on the road traveling Japan, for the antidote.
Of course, the last thing we as the audience wants is for our lead – Ayaka Miyoshi in a riotous performance – to stop the dancing. For what is a musical fantasy but the willing hypnotic suspension of reality? Spurning work, decorum, and proper society’s unfortunate bias against spontaneous singing, CAN’T STOP THE DANCING, directed by Japan’s magician of throwback entertainments, finds a delightful reconciliation between the joy of self-expression and the social pressures of fitting in. Full of knowing winks, kooky characters, and plot twists led by dance turns, this is a dazzling extravaganza for closet musical fans, the ones who can’t wait for some cinematic hypnosis to whisk them away.