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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Dare mo shiranai

From the director of After Life seems to come another very interesting film: "Nobody Knows".

Loosely based on an actual incident that took place in the late 1980s, Nobody Knows centers around four children who are forced to rely on one another after their mother abandons them.

Keiko is a young mother with a responsible 12-year-old son, Akira. When she takes an apartment in Tokyo, he helps her to take their belongings inside. Once out of the eye of an unforgiving public, the suitcases are opened. Two infants, Shigeru and Yuki have been smuggled inside. Soon, a fourth child, Kyoko sneaks in as well.

Though the family atmosphere is warm, it is clear that Keiko has had these children with four different fathers. In order to earn money, she frequently leaves the children alone for long periods of time. The kids are heavily restricted, too, because the landlord is aware of only Akira's presence in the apartment. As a result, they can't go outside, they can't make noise, and they don't go to school.

Before long, Keiko is absent more and more often. She finds a lover who helps to save her from herself, and she disappears. From time to time, she sends money to support the children. Although Akira asks the various fathers of all the children for assistance, they still find themselves in a dire situation as both power and water are shut off. How will the children survive their odyssey?

Nobody Knows played at the Cannes Film Festival, where the young actor Yuuya Yagira won the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Akira. (BoxOffice Prophets)

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