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When Hirokazu Koreeda’s gently offbeat family drama “Umimachi Diary” (“Our Little Sister”) was screened in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, both audiences and the media were enthusiastic — a story for the Reuters news agency described it as “Palme d’Or material.” But instead of being awarded the festival’s top prize, the film walked away with nothing.

In Japan, however, “Our Little Sister” is getting a wide release, with distributors Toho and Gaga hoping to replicate the success of “Soshite Chichi ni Naru” (“Like Father, Like Son”), Koreeda’s 2013 film about two boys who switched families at birth, which earned ¥3.2 billion at the local box office and won Koreeda a jury prize at Cannes.

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