Running scenes have been a staple since the start of the movies, but in the silent days the fleet-footed hero was usually trying to outrun the police. Now, competitive running in its various forms, from the ekiden relay to the marathon, has become a subset of the feel-good sports film in Japan, with the hero’s goal often being more self-improvement than victory.

Yuya Nakaizumi’s “Running Again,” which opened the 2018 Skip City International D-Cinema Festival in Saitama Prefecture, combines both of these strands, though the latter is stronger. In fact, a more accurate title might be “Run to Change Your Life” — and not merely by escaping the long arm, or strides, of the law.

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