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Nobody Knows Review

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After being abandoned by their mother, four children try to continue living as normal.

★★★★

Yagira won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his supremely naturalistic performance in this heart-rending rites-of-passage picture, inspired by an actual event that scandalised Japan in the late 1980s.

But director Hirokazu Koreeda's achievement is even more remarkable, as he strips away the story's melodramatic potential and presents the desertion of four youngsters by their irresponsible mother as a series of everyday occurrences that they outwardly take in their stride. Yet, as the money runs out and the flat becomes increasingly squalid, Koreeda succeeds in imposing a greater visual rigour on proceedings.

Rarely has a kid's-eye view of the adult world been captured with such innocence and insight.