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The maxim from Ecclesiastes that “There is nothing new under the sun” applies especially to the movie business. “Swing Girls,” a 2004 smash about a high-school girls swing band, begat “Hula Girls,” a 2006 hit about a hula dance troupe in a 1960s mining town, which begat “Kanki no Uta (Ode to Joy),” a new film about two housewife chorus groups that, through a scheduling error, end up sharing the same stage.

All right, I’m using the Biblical “begat” ironically, but these and other Japanese films about musical zeros who become audience-conquering heroes share a strong family resemblance.

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