Movies: Tough Kids

They bond to survive in the deft Nobody Knows

The winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor award couldn't be at the ceremony last May. He was back home, in Tokyo, taking exams at his junior high school. Yuuya Yagira is 14, and the best reason to search out Hirokazu Koreeda's fact-based fable Nobody Knows.

The premise is simple: spend a year, four seasons, with four children who have been abandoned by their mother and left to survive in a small apartment without a social safety net. The way they do so, with a desperate resourcefulness, implicitly condemns Japan's welfare system and makes it clear that, in this family--this...

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