France’s Ocean Films has snapped up all French rights to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll from Fortissimo Films. The film has secureda berth in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes film festival.

Fortissimo is handling worldwide sales outside Japan on Air Doll which is based on a Yoshiie Gouda graphic novel and tells the story of a blow-up doll that develops a soul and falls in love with a video store clerk. Asmik Ace Entertainment is handling Japanese distribution.

The deal was negotiated by Fortissimo’s Michael J. Werner and Ocean Films’ managing director Eric Heumann. Ocean has previously distributed films such as Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and Florian Henckel von Donnersmark’s The Lives Of Others in France.

On making the announcement Werner said: “We are incredibly pleased to announce a French deal for this wonderful film prior to this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

“Oceans’ top quality library reflects our confidence and belief in this film and its talented director. Ocean Films are the perfect choice to bring this film to the French public and we are confident they will give it the attention and support it deserves.”

Heumann added “The whole Ocean team is proud to distribute Kore-eda’s Air Doll. It’s a vibrant picture that poetically conveys the tragic loneliness of big industrial cities’ inhabitants.”

Kore-eda’s last film, Still Walking, received its international premiere in Toronto and recently won best director at the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong.