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After winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2009 for his funeral-business drama “Okuribito (Departures),” Yojiro Takita faced the usual dilemma of the successful: what to do for a followup? This onetime maker of risqué comedies about train gropers had since become a director-for-hire working successfully in a variety of genres, from black comedy to feudal-era fantasy, but “Departures,” which grossed a stupendous ¥6.5 billion in Japan while winning more than 100 prizes worldwide, was a triumph of a higher order that could be impossible to top.

(“Tsurikichi Sanpei [Sanpei the Fisher Boy],” a comic adaptation directed by Takita, opened after “Departures,” in March 2009, but was not an intended “topper” since it went into production in July 2008.)

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