With 20 rollicking films under his belt, Japan’s most maverick director SABU (Postman Blues, Chazuke’s Journey) still astonishes and delights with this indefinable and intoxicating cocktail of genres and moods. A paean to love and fidelity as well as living (or dying) dangerously, it also gives action junkies the fix they crave.

A junior civil servant (NAOTO from the band Exile) is assigned the unpleasant chore of overseeing the demolition of an old dance hall to make way for a shopping mall, but the place is so haunted that even exorcists run a mile. Desperate, he seeks out a high school girl with psychic powers. Cue escapades in the afterlife, where spirits are every bit as feisty and unforgiving as mortals. After a rendezvous with a yakuza ghost, they are whisked away to Taiwan for an epic supernatural showdown of blades. Spine-tingling, heart-racing, side-splitting and hopelessly romantic, Dancing Mary is also gorgeously shot and peppered with stylish jazzy song and dance.

Special Award of the Fantasy Jury, Fantasporto 20

Canadian premiere
Director Icon Director

NAOTO, Aina Yamada, Ryo Ishibashi
Executive Producer EXILE HIRO
Producer Satoshi Miyazaki, Yoichi Shimizu, Chikako Nakabayashi, Osamu Ogawara, Kei Era
Screenwriter SABU
Cinematographer Hiroo Yanagida
Editor SABU
Production Design Kiyotaka Ohara
Music Junichi Matsumoto
Production Company Deep Side
Source Free Stone Productions
Japan 2019 105 min. Japanese with English subtitles Trailer
Community Media Partners
Media Partners


Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

SABU headshot


SABU made his directorial debut with Dangan Runner (1996), which screened in the Panorama section at Berlin International Film Festival and other festivals. He became known early in his career for quirky, character-driven action-comedies. Mr Long was officially selected by the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2017.

Selected Filmography
Dangan Runner (1996); The Blessing Bell (2002); Chasuke’s Journey (2015)