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Haunting Japanese film, 'Nobody Knows,' to Screen
at UW-Eau Claire April 6-9

RELEASED: March 31, 2006

Nobody Knows posterEAU CLAIRE — "Nobody Knows," a haunting film about four resilient children who learn to fend for themselves after being abandoned by their mother in a small Tokyo apartment, will be presented April 6-9 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Based on actual headline-grabbing events in Japan, the 2004 film will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

"'Nobody Knows,' by the often excellent Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, is one of those special movies that can give us a new way of seeing," wrote Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Wilmington. "With immaculate detail and heart-rending compassion, it transports us into a whole new world, shining and dangerous.... And few films have ever made us so complicit with childhood's special vision."

In a small Tokyo apartment, single mother Keiko (Japanese pop star You) reminds her multi-fathered brood of the house rules: no loud voices and no going outside, not even on the balcony. Deprived of family support and terrified of being evicted, the often absent, desperate woman conceals all her children except the eldest, 12-year-old Akira (Yagira Yuya, who deservedly won the Best Actor Prize at the 2004 Film Festival).

One day the mother simply vanishes, leaving Akira in charge with a cursory note and a little money to look after his siblings, ages four, seven and ten. They try their best to carry on, but the fragile balance that has sustained their survival collapses when they are forced to engage with the outside world.

Close-ups of everyday objects — abandoned stuffed animals, a suitcase, chocolates, a child's shoes, a soiled shirt, a puddle of crimson nail polish, a utility shut-down notice — powerfully illuminate not only the children's slowly engulfing fate but also the delicate universe of childhood. Like Truffaut in "The 400 Blows," writer-director Kore-eda ("After Life") fashions an intimate odyssey of lost innocence and fierce determination with masterful cinematic deliberation.

In Japanese subtitled in English, the 141-minute film is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements and some sexual references.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door. The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

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JS/NW

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