Nobody Knows (2004)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

Original title:  Dare Mo Shiranai

Japan, 2004Bandai Visual Company, Cine Qua Non Films, Engine Film, Nobody Knows Project Team, TV Man Union, c-style.  Screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Film Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda.  

A single woman moves into an apartment with her twelve year-old son Akira, and then smuggles in her three smaller children so that the landlord won’t know how many she has. All four of them being from different fathers, the woman keeps her kids pent up inside their small apartment and doesn’t sign them up for school in an effort to keep their illegitimacy hidden. She also leaves them alone for long periods of time to work in other cities, sometimes as long as a month, while her eldest takes the responsibility of watching over his siblings and making sure that all household responsibilities are seen to. When their mother disappears for good, Akira finds himself doing whatever he can to keep house and home together while also not letting his siblings ever believe that they have been abandoned. Hirokazu Koreeda has created another emotionally searing tale that uses the simplest of storytelling techniques. His unobtrusive camera watches over these youngsters and tells their story, based on a factual one, without ever begging for your sympathy or trying to manipulate your emotions. It even withholds harsh judgement on the mother character, although that won’t stop you from wanting to find her and beat her senseless with a tire iron.

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Best Actor (Yuya Yagira)

Toronto International Film Festival:  2004

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