Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nobody Knows

Dare Mo Shiranai
Bandai Visual Co.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Length: 141 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 12 January

One of the best cinema verite films in recent memory, Nobody Knows is a breathtaking and, quite frankly, terrifying film. I sat on the edge of the couch in horror throughout the majority of the run time, as the situation of the four forgotten children goes from terrible to desperate to worse. The main character of the film, Akira, played to perfection by 13 year-old Yuya Yagira, who deservedly won the Best Actor Award at the 2004 Cannes, does his best to keep his siblings, each one born of a different, absent father, together and alive. Their abhorrent, run-away mother leaves them a very small amount of money which quickly runs out. Still, Yagira maintains a mask of strength around his brother and sisters, yet occasionally, his overwhelming desire to act as a normal child - go to school, play with friends, date the girl, play baseball on the team - destroys his facade, and in these times you realize how amazing Akira has been in handling the affairs of the family. He pays the bills, keeps all receipts, buys presents for his siblings that he pretends are from his mom, and of course, gets plenty of Apollo Chocolate for the youngest, Yuki. Ayu Kitaura, whose similarly wonderful performance as oldest sister, Kyoko, has been unjustly overlooked, ties down the domestic side, keeping the youngest two children inside and away from adults who may turn them in to Social Services, and perfectly reveals to the viewer her simultaneous hatred and love felt towards her mother. Other fears abound: did their surrogate third sister, Saki, really only sing karaoke with the middle-aged business man to help support the kids? What will they do now that the utilities are shut off? What has happened to Yuki? Will the landlord find out about them? All of this is captured by the largely unmoving camera, capturing the events like a documentary and through this stylistic choice, increases our fear about what will happen to the kids. This is easily one of the year's best, and we can only hope that it will be rightly awarded at this year's Academy Awards.


Anonymous Belisha said...

Gosh, what a film. What a film. I got drawn to it right from the beginning. I have never seen such an emotionally terrifyling film.

01 June, 2006 08:46  

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