Today I went to the pre-screening of "Nobody Knows," a stunningly brilliant film by director Hirokazu Koreeda who also directed the philosophical "After Life." What if I were a 12 years old boy and left alone to take care of two younger sisters and one younger brother in a big city like Tokyo, and I have to hide them in the apartment so nobody knows about them? That's what I have been thinking when I was watching this film and how the film gets my sympathy for these children. It allows me to experience the ordeal through these children's eyes and the transcending performance by Yuya Yagira, who is the youngest actor ever won the best actor award in the history of Cannes Film Festival. Director Koreeda allows the camera to take the time to shoot and he never rushes from one scene to the next. He let me observe, let me feel, let me be as close to these children as I possibly can, until I can no longer take it and until I am drowned by the frustration and sadness. I become as helpless as those children, because I simply can not resist the urge to help them. That makes me cry. Through out the film, Koreeda masterfully positioned his lenses to ordinary objects around these children, such as simply a finger, a hand, a stain, a foot, or four empty glasses. But through these zoomed in images, I have no trouble to "see" and "feel" what's going on in the whole picture. And it tells the story in a more profound fashion and more personal way, a story you will never forget, along with those images, sometimes, even the music. The 12 years old boy is played by Yuya Yagira, who has a haircut like the Japanese animation character. Yagira's outstanding performance is original and remarkable, and simply unforgettable. Through him, you see a premature 12 years old boy who is acting as an adult to take care the other kids, meanwhile, he is still a 12 years old kid, who will just like other kids around his age. That's make this movie can be so hard to watch sometimes, because no matter how hard your heart is, it will be softened by watching his struggle to survive. It's hard to leave this movie with dry eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best film I have seen this year.
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.
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April 5, 2019