This diary is not about Terri Schiavo. Nobody Knows
is a film
by Hirokazu Kore-eda that purports to be about 4 children living on their own in Tokyo. However, it's a political allegory about all of us, living in a world in which we are ill-equipped to survive. We lack the discipline, the knowledge, and the skills to stay alive in a world that most of us don't understand and cannot understand. The film is based on a true story.
Read the review below the fold:
Four siblings live with their mother in a small apartment in Tokyo. All the children have different fathers and none of them have ever been to school. In fact, the very existence of three of the children has been hidden from the landlord. One day, the mother leaves behind a note, asking her twelve-year-old boy (Yagira Yuya, winner of the Best Actor Award at Cannes) to look after the others. Though abandoned, the children do their best to survive. But when they are forced to engage with the outside world, the fragile balance that has sustained them collapses. Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life, Maborosi). (Fully subtitled)
Perhaps I'm simply a nutso political junkie, but it seemed to me that the entire film was a beautiful allegory. The children are the collective us, Tokyo is the universe. Just as children lack the discipline, knowledge, and skills to keep it all together in a city, so we lack the abilities necessary for our continued survival on this planet. Just as the children came up against the financial realities of the city of Tokyo, so humans have come up against the laws of physics.
A subplot in the film has the children care for a tiny garden on their balcony. That garden has about the same relation to their ability to survive as our efforts toward protecting our environment, which is pretty much zip.
There is a nifty scene at the end where a child finds a coin in a coin return and is so happy to have found it. That coin will help their survival about like drilling in the Refuge will keep our civilization together.
A fine film. Very enjoyable, accessible, and well crafted. If you live in a city with a developed cinema culture, it may be playing near you now.