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Nobody Knows (2004)

Dare mo shiranai (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama | 21 October 2004 (Hong Kong)
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In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning.

Director:

Hirokazu Koreeda
13 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Yûya Yagira ... Akira Fukushima
Ayu Kitaura Ayu Kitaura ... Kyoko
Hiei Kimura Hiei Kimura ... Shigeru
Momoko Shimizu Momoko Shimizu ... Yuki
Hanae Kan Hanae Kan ... Saki
You You ... Keiko, the mother
Kazuyoshi Kushida Kazuyoshi Kushida ... Yoshinaga, The Landlord
Yukiko Okamoto Yukiko Okamoto ... Eriko Yoshinaga
Sei Hiraizumi Sei Hiraizumi ... Mini-market Manager
Ryo Kase ... Mini-market Employee (as Ryô Kase)
Takako Tate Takako Tate ... Mini-market teller
Yûichi Kimura Yûichi Kimura ... Sugihara (Taxi Driver)
Ken'ichi Endô Ken'ichi Endô ... Pachinko Parlor Employee
Susumu Terajima Susumu Terajima ... Baseball coach
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shinichi Hashizawa Shinichi Hashizawa
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Storyline

In Tokyo, the reckless single mother Keiko moves to a small apartment with her twelve years old son Akira Fukushima and hidden in the luggage, his siblings Shigeru and Yuki. Kyoko, another sibling arrives later by train. The children have different fathers and do not have schooling, but they have a happy life with their mother. When Keiko finds a new boyfriend, she leaves the children alone, giving some money to Akira and assigning him to take care of his siblings. When the money runs out, Akira manages to find means to survive with the youngsters without power supply, gas or water at home, and with the landlord asking for the rent. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil who never watched the movie based on his comments about 3 children in luggage when there were only two.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

21 October 2004 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Nobody Knows See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,393, 6 February 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$683,575, 26 June 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the director Hirokazu Koreeda, though Nobody Knows (2004) was inspired by the true story of the Sugamo child abandonment case, it is not a factual recounting, and only the settings and the ending of the story are based on the true story. Also, the film's version of the story was far less grisly than the actual event upon which the movie is based on. See more »

Goofs

When Akira buys the stack of chocolates for Yuki near the end of the movie, he buys 19 boxes and the total comes to 1,895 yen. As there was no sales tax at the time Japan, each box would have to be priced at 99.74 yen - which is essentially impossible. See more »

Quotes

Pachinko Parlor Employee: Shit. I'm 10 yen short. Lend me 10 yen.
Akira Fukushima: Ten yen?
Pachinko Parlor Employee: No big deal, huh? Lend me. What the hell is with that big wallet? What the hell is this?
Akira Fukushima: It's a hand-me-down from Mom.
Pachinko Parlor Employee: From who?
Akira Fukushima: From Mom.
Pachinko Parlor Employee: You moved, right? Roomy, huh? Any pubic hair comin', yet?
Akira Fukushima: No...
Pachinko Parlor Employee: Bullshit. I got mine in fifth grade.
Akira Fukushima: No way.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Love Songs (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Houseki
Sung by Takako Tate
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely Astounding!
15 April 2006 | by s_cadzowSee all my reviews

There are very few films I have seen that had the power to affect me as deeply as Nobody Knows. As highly as I recommend it, I must also forewarn, that this film has power, some very serious power. To call Hirokazu Koreeda's Nobody Knows anything less than a masterpiece would be an insult to the story it tells. The craftsmanship we witness here, from the masterful direction to the outstanding performances that the children were able to commit to, are all something of incredible proportions.

Nobody Knows, which is a true story, tells of four siblings, ages 5-12, from different fathers, who live in a small apartment in Tokyo. At first, they live in the apartment with their childish Mother who is hardly ever home. With the exception of the oldest, Akira, the mother snuck the children in to keep the rent lower and prohibits them from ever leaving the apartment, even the veranda, for fear of them being seen. The children do not go to school. As they look after each other, all they do is patiently and affectionately wait for their mother to come home.

As the story progresses, the children wake up one morning to some money on the kitchen table with a note from their mother saying that she'll be home in a month. As Akira steps up and takes charge of the apartment, the bills, and his siblings, the children still hold hope that mother will be home soon. And then, Nobody Knows hits you like a truck and goes right through you. Complete Abandonment. The smiles diminish and the childish affection for a mother that will never return is gone. Gone to play mother to another family, it is now entirely up to Akira, with money running out.

Koreeda's direction of the children is exceptional, as if the film was shot entirely candid. The camera-work is sincere, as if we were one of the children stuck in that apartment. There are no gimmicks here, no slide of hand, or post-production miracles. Nobody Knows is raw, and thrives in Koreeda's ability to capture the distinct personalities of all four siblings, their hopes, and those secretive moments where Koreeda directs the children not for the stories sake, but for the sake of the children being children.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Nobody Knows is the performances of the four children. All four children, who conjured phenomenal performances, were played by Japanese youths with no film backgrounds. After you see the film, it is likely that Koreeda preferred it this way, tapping into the honesty and energy that such youth had to offer. Their performances are so sincere and beautiful that on several occasions the tears will start to fall, the goose bumps will rise, and your heart will undoubtedly cry out to rescue these children, to grab them in your arms and set them free.

Without giving too much away, one of the most touching scenes to me, is on Yuki's birthday, the only thing she wants is to be able to go outside for a walk with her big brother Akira. So when the night comes, she puts on her little bear slippers, an ear to ear smile on her face, and with her hand in her brothers hand, they set her heart free for if not only a night.

Nobody Knows is a film that I will never let go of. This film impacted me so much and I found it so absolutely remarkable, that it hasn't left my mind since it's viewing. I almost feel that recommending this film just isn't enough, and all I can say is that I hope everyone gets the chance to enjoy this film for all that it is worth. As sure as it is to invoke emotion, it is as sure to please as a piece of cinema.


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