Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Twelve-year-old actor Yagira Yuya took the Best Actor Award in Cannes last month for his role as a boy taking charge of his siblings after their mother flits off in Nobody Knows. The film was inspired by the real events surrounding four children, each fathered by a different man, who were abandoned by their mother and lived on their own for six months. Kore-eda Hirokazu, director of Mabarosi and After Life, takes us inside their world as they do their best to survive without adult support, devising and following their own set of rules.
“A satisfying reminder of this director’s talent for extending a single moment with superbly poised artistry… Kore-eda patiently tracks the children’s secret existence as un-adult adults, minute by minute, with gentleness and acute observation. They do not become feral, but maintain, with a weird and moving dignity, the best semblance of family life possible as their flat becomes more and more run down… Kore-eda gets miraculously fresh performances from the children and the film is absorbing, humane and deeply moving.”
— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“In less sensitive hands, the film could easily have been a manipulative melodrama of children in danger, or else a too-cute appreciation of youthful resilience, but Kore-eda directs his dry-eyed young actors with an extraordinary mixture of tenderness and detachment, hovering between the children’s point of view and that of a stricken, sympathetic adult. The film moves slowly and lasts nearly two-and-a-half hours, but somehow your attention never slackens, and at the end you feel both heartbroken and oddly exhilarated.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times