February 16th, 2005

XmasKiss

Dare mo Shiranai (Nobody Knows)

So many movies these days feel the need to tell us their story. Dare mo Shiranai (Nobody Knows) shows us, instead. The story of four half-siblings, ages 5 though 12, abandoned by their mother (who is less mature and responsible than her children) to survive on their own in Tokyo.

Beautifully filmed in documentary style, the story inches up on you like a stealthy spider, ensnaring you in its gossamer threads until, two hours and twenty minutes later, you're completely wrapped up in the lives of these resourceful, pragmatic kids. Especially enchanting is Yûya Yagira as the eldest brother Akira. He evokes a feral cat or urban fox as he goes out into the city to forage for food and supplies for his family. Even though he has become the man of the apartment, he's still a young boy who only wants to play baseball and go to school.

It is not a happy ending, but it's not depressing, either. It's just...an ending. And even though you've been sitting in a cramped cinema seat for 141 minutes...you aren't quite ready to see the closing credits.
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