Nobody Knows (2004)—Japanese
Yagira Yuya won best actor at the 2004 Cannes festival for his role as Akira, a 12 year-old boy who cares for his three younger siblings when the four of them are abandoned by their mother. Paternity in this film simply does not exist, and in fact we might believe that the children had four different fathers. The few minutes we meet the mom, Keiko, early in the film would not discourage that idea. After Keiko moves her family into a new apartment she gives them several rules: only Akira can go outside, none of them will go to school, and no loud noises, lest they be evicted. Then she leaves, and but for Akira's savvy they are on their own. How could she possibly leave? Will she return? Where did she go? Nobody knows. Akira shops, cooks, banks at the ATM, tracks down his dad to beg for money, and cares for his siblings, as we watch the sad and inevitable meltdown of the four children. The film was inspired by a true story that was reported in Tokyo not too long ago. In Japanese with English subtitles.