Nobody Knows (2004)

Writer/Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu

Stars: Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura, Momoko Shimizu, You, Hanae Kan, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Yukiko Okamoto

Four children (Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura, and Momoko Shimizu) must raise themselves when their irresponsible single mother (You) abandons them in a Tokyo apartment. 

Officially, they don't exist; they don't attend school and the three youngest are not even permitted to go outside.


Akira, the oldest, tries to take care of his brother and sisters by carefully budgeting the cash his mother leaves and begging from her old boyfriends when the money gets tight.


He does pretty well for a while, but as the mother's disappearances grow longer, the responsibility gradually becomes too great for even an exceptionally mature 12-year-old.


Director Kore-eda Hirokazu has done an outstanding job, drawing absolutely naturalistic performances from his young cast, who are sweet without being sentimental or cloying. 

I felt as if I had been granted access to an intimate, secret world, making the inevitable tragedy truly heartbreaking.


This is a very special film.


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