Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

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Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby MikLosk » Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:33 pm

Kore-eda (known with exquisite masterpiece "Maboroshi no hikari" and marvellous "After life") proved one more time that he's one of the foremost (if not the best) modern directors: his latest film "Nobody knows" in my opinion is the best film of 2000's (I have to accept that it's even better than "Dogville" of my favourite von Trier). Masterpiece!

Based on real story, this film narrates about 4 children which were sudenly left alone by their mother for eight months (!); and the eldest brother becomes a 'father' for the others. I don't want to retell the plot: the film should be watched, not heard about...
Problems of children - and especially problems of their maturing and entering into wild and cruel "adult world" - were discussed many times in cinema (you can remember a lot of examples - from classical "400 blows" to modern Zvyagintsev's "The Return"). And here is another great movie on this subject. This problem is especially pointed in this film because of the fact that relations between mother and her children in Japan are delicate and complicated; they are considered as a single whole for a long time.

"Nobody knows" is filmed with wisdom, honesty and modesty. Kore-eda controls actors' (they're kids!) performance so mastefully! - without extra expressiveness or sentimentality. Sometimes it's impossible to tell author's invention from 'captured reality'. And what marvellous close-ups!
The most amazing for me fact about this film is that this drama is optimistic (!), despite its sorrow...

Wonderful film! 9.5/10

P.S. "Nobody knows" was in official contest program of Cannes-2004, but it hasn't got enough attention from jury (only Best Actor prix): Palme d'or was got by pretentious piece of propaganda ""Farenheit 9/11", and Grand Prix - by flashy secondary "Old boy". It's no wonder: Tarantino was the President of Jury...

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby hengcs » Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:57 pm

Pardon the admin for merging the two threads.
Your understanding is appreciated.

Originally posted by Howard Schumann
on (2/28/05 12:04 pm)

Directed by Hirokazu Kore'eda (2004)

Hirokazu Kore'eda's Nobody Knows is a film of deep compassion about four young children abandoned by their mother in a small apartment in Tokyo. Based on a real incident in 1988, the film was written, directed, produced, and edited by Kore'eda whose earlier films, Maborosi and After Life were introspective meditations on life and death. Though his latest film is primarily a coming-of-age film about the transformation of a pre-adolescent boy, no film I've seen in recent memory has filled me with as much sadness for the failure of modern society to provide a coherent set of values for people. While there have been other films about the alienation of big city life, particularly by Tsai Ming-ling (The River, What Time Is it There?) they tend to be cold and impersonal and convey an emotional deadness. Such is not the case here where the children's natural vivacity and warmth make their closeness to each other more real, and ultimately all the more heartbreaking.

The center of the film is 12-year old Akira who must care for his brothers and sisters when his mother leaves the home. Akira is remarkably portrayed by Yuya Yagira who was named Best Actor for his performance at Cannes in 2004. His strong and compassionate eyes reveal a depth of understanding, rare in an actor that young. Supporting him is his sister ten-year old Kyoko (Kitaura Ayu), seven-year old Shigeru (Kimura Hiei), and four-year old Yuki (Shimizu Momoko), all from different fathers. The children's birth was never registered and they do not attend school. They are the ultimate city dwellers, anonymous and alone.

As the film opens, the mother Keiko (Japanese television performer You) moves into a new apartment with Akira. Fearing eviction because of too much noise, the other children are packed in suitcases so the landlord does not find out they are living in the apartment. Since they are all from different fathers and do not attend school, the world does not even know that they exist. Keiko tells the children that they must adhere to strict rules: no loud talking and no going outside the apartment even to the balcony. As the children settle in, one day Akira finds a note from his mother together with some money telling him that she is going away for a while and asks him to look after the family.

Using all natural lighting the film explores the details of the children's ups and downs living by themselves inside a cramped apartment for months. Much of the dialogue is improvised and we are not even aware of the children acting, just living moment by moment. Akira has to buy the groceries, handle the finances, and do all the things that an adult should be doing. "He is the only adult in that family," says Kore'eda. "The mother is much more immature than he is. But he's the adult only because that role has been forced onto him." The only time he is shown being a child is when he plays video games or baseball and has some adventures with some other boys in the neighborhood, but it is fleeting.

At first playful, then gradually becoming passive and withdrawn, we watch in dismay as the conditions of their lives gradually deteriorate. The lights and water are turned off because of failure to pay the bills and the children have to wash in public fountains and light their rooms by candle. Though normally this would be very depressing, the children convey such feelings of joy, especially when they are finally let out to run around the park that our feelings of hopelessness are temporarily uplifted. Kore'eda said, "children are incredibly resilient, to just label these children's six months alone together as pathetic or tragic, you wouldn't get any closer to understanding either the children or what they experienced."

Yet there is sadness, and the more difficult life becomes the more we hope that the children will be rescued, though we know that Akira has said that he would not report the situation to any authority for fear of breaking up the family. Nobody Knows has a running time of two hours and twenty-one minutes and requires patience, yet it's total effect is stunning. In the final sequence, the city of Tokyo is shown in silence as if to underscore the emotional disconnection of the modern city where people live in close proximity but nobody knows and nobody cares.


Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby A » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:45 pm

There isn't much more that I can add to the previous comments. The film is wonderful, had only one flaw (imo the sometimes too "sweet" music), and it's situated in this space between documentary and fiction, which is the thing I love most in films. The direction is marvellous, as the film gets better and better, and is one of those rare examples, where the director lets the film find its own pace.
There are some outstanding scenes in the film, that can be compared to ANYTHING that has ever been put on the screen, that oscillate between the screen and the viewer, creating a sort of third reality besides film and the real world. My favorite scene is at the end of the film, where
the t kids and their friend are sitting in a train after having buried the youngest, and the camera just pans them.
This is exactly why I watch movies, when it becomes clear to me that I don't know any other artform which can express feelings as sublimely as film. In such moments art transcends life, creating situations that in normal life would maybe called "miracles", and Koreeda lets us because he never judges his characters see human beings as they are. The film thus becomes a perfect example of humanist filmmaking.
One of the best films of this year, which will probably end up in my top ten of 2005.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby wpqx » Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:11 am

Damn I think my review disappeared for this, oh well I think it's still posted on filmwurld

I do have to comment however if this is your absolute favorite film of the decade why give it a 9.5/10? You're too harsh with your ratings. Anyways I loved the film, although I may prefer After Life to it, nevertheless it stood as the early film to beat for this year, which I'm not quite sure I've seen anything yet that can top it.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby groom daniel » Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:55 am

Nobody Knows was a flawed masterpiece. It would've been one of my favourite Japanese films of all time if the second act hadn't been so long and repetitive. It was still moving, however.
groom daniel

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby MikLosk » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:18 am

Totally agree with you, groom_daniel. It was the only flaw of the movie, that's why I didn't rate it 10/10, wpqx. 10/10 is an absolute masterpiece in my opinion. There are less than 20 movies in cinema history that I rate so highly.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby A » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:06 pm

Saw it a second time last week, with two friends who were both bloen away.
I hope they will be eternally grateful for me having urged them to see it.
The film was even better the second time I saw it, though it wasn't as magical as in the first experience. My rating has jumped up to **1/2 / ****, and I now think it will definitely make this years Top ten.
The music which was a bit too "schmaltzy" imo the first time, seemed fitting in the 2nd viewing. In fact I now think, that the film would have lost something without it. Though the song at the end does say a bit "too much", it is nevertheless beautiful, and though the scene would have maybe been better without it, this is marginal.
Of course the film isn't perfect, but I don't want to concentrate on the flaws, as it has tremendeously much to offer.
I'll finally get to see Maboroshi next week in the cinema
I know we have some enthusiats on board so I'll tell you what I think about it. If it's only half as good as this one, I'll be satisfied.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby chard09 » Tue Aug 02, 2005 11:25 am

Oh well, seeing it differently, I find what you are referring to the second act as long and repetitive, is one of the film's finest moments. It has able to present a rhythm of viewing what's happening in Akira's family as something normal, though it isn't. Nobody Knows is a bomb to the West, claiming the inferiority of Asian cinema. Orientalism as Eduard Said puts it.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby A » Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:15 pm

I must also support the "second act", as I found it absolutely masterful. The reason why I rated the film "only" ***1/2 / ****, is the first act (while the mother is still there), which I found long and repetitive.
Funny how tastes can differ
and Chaer, I hope you mean Superiority of asian cinema.

Re: Daremo Shiranai (Nobody knows) (Japan) (2004)

Postby chard09 » Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:22 am

What I mean is that the West always claim that Asian Cinema is always inferior to them.

Yeah -- that's a nice term, superiority.


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