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Move over, Hachiko. Japan’s most famous exemplar of canine devotion faces some stiff competition from the titular dog in Hitoshi Yazaki’s “Sakura.” Even when everything threatens to fall apart for the family at the center of this tale, their faithful hound finds a way to bring them back together.

The film itself could have done with such a reliable anchor. It’s a fascinating mess, with wild mood swings and a story that takes forever to get to the point, though it’s made watchable by some committed performances from the actors and a willingness to venture into the taboo.

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