NOBODY KNOWS (DAREMO SHIRANAI) (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2004)
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Thursday, June 23, 8:45, and Friday, June 24, 4:30
Series runs through June 24
Tickets: $10, in person only, may be applied to museum admission within thirty days, same-day screenings free with museum admission, available at Film and Media Desk
Based on a true story that writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Maborosi, After Life) read about back in 1988, Nobody Knows is a heartwarming, heartbreaking film about four extraordinary half-siblings who must fend for themselves every time their mother takes off for extended periods of time. Japanese TV and pop star YOU makes her feature-film debut as Keiko, a young woman who has four kids by way of four different men. When she’s home, she shows affection for the children, but the problem is, she’s rarely home. Instead, twelve-year-old Akira (Yagira Yuya) must take care of the shy Kyoko (Kitaura Ayu), who handles the laundry; the troublemaker Shigeru (Kimura Hiei), who can’t follow the rules; and sweet baby Yuki (Shimizu Momoko), who likes chocolates and squeaky shoes. At first, it is charming and uplifting watching how Akira handles the complicated situation — the other kids are not allowed outside because the landlord will evict them if he finds out about them, and Akira even helps teach the family, who do not attend school — but as Keiko disappears for longer periods of time, the children’s lives grow more dire by the day as food and money start running out. Kore-eda, who also edited and produced this powerful picture, has created a moving, involving film that nearly plays like a documentary, avoiding melodramatic clichés and instead wrapping the audience up in the closeted life of four terrific kids whose tragic existence will ultimately break your heart. Nobody Knows is screening at MoMA on June 23 and 24 as part of the series “In Focus: IFC Films,” which concludes with a sneak peek of Errol Morris’s Tabloid (2010) on June 24 at 8:00.