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Cannes Winner ‘Shoplifters’ in Oscar Race for Japan

Shoplifters,” the family drama that won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes festival earlier this year has been named as Japan’s contender for the foreign language prize at the Academy Awards.

It is the second time that a film directed by Hirokazu Kore’eda represents Japan in the Oscars race. His “Nobody Knows” was a previous contender but was not shortlisted as a nominee.

The film has scored strongly at the box office in Japan, and in China, where it has become the top grossing live action film from Japan, with a score of over RMB84 million, or about $12.2 million, since its Aug. 3 release. Distribution in China was headed by Road Pictures, with a consortium that includes Huayi Bros. Media.

It was released in Japan in June, through Gaga, and has clocked up $39 million (JPY4.31 billion) from 3.52 million admissions.

It will be released in Europe from September and North America and the U.K. from November. International sales are handled jointly by GAGA of Japan and French-based sales specialist Wild Bunch.

Variety‘s review from Cannes called the film “a return to the socially-conscious mode of Kore-eda’s ‘Nobody Knows,'” describing it as a “charming and heart-wrenching, exquisitely performed film [that] will steal the hearts of both art-house and mainstream audiences.”

Japanese films have won three honorary foreign-language Oscars, been nominated on a further 12 occasions and won the prize in 2008 with Yojiro Takita’s “Departures.”

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