Friday, June 15, 2007

Daremo Shiranai

I recently finished watching the Japanese film, Daremo Shiranai (Nobody Knows). I say finished watching it, because the first DVD I watched was scratched and had to be replaced. I had wanted to watch this movie for a long time for several reasons. It takes place in Japan. The young actor Yuya Yagira was the youngest actor ever to win best actor at Cannes for his role, and subsequently the film received a fair bit of press.

This film is somewhat based on true events known as the Affair of the four abandoned children of Sugamo. I did a bit of research, however, and it turns out that the true events were much more awful than the film's portrayal. I think the film wanted to communicate a different point than a sensationalized tale. I think it succeeded.

Four children, each with a different father, are left for long stretches of time by their mother alone in their apartment. By long stretches of time, I mean weeks and months. She leaves them some money and disappears, putting her oldest son, 12 years old in charge. No one in the apartment knows she has more children than this one son, Akira. When she moves the family into the apartment, she packs the children away in suitcases to smuggle them in. She forbids them to go outside. She doesn't have them in school. Appalled yet?

This film tells the story of (in most cases) their survival. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes encouraging, always poignant this story gripped me. And suddenly, at one point, I found tears streaming down my cheeks.

This is what I love about the power of story. Story has the ability to very quickly get under your skin and reach your emotions. It has the power to shoot straight for the heart and wrap its fingers around tight and not let go. I believe that's why so much of the Bible is written in story. It's why Jesus spoke in parables. It's why Brokeback Mountain was seen as so important and Uncle Tom's Cabin is taught about in school. There is power in story. Story brings a new level of personal connection to the reality of life.

I love when a book changes me or a movie challenges me. Have you ever had a book or movie change anything in your life for you? What things could we be using the power of story to affect change to right now?


FancyPants said...

Absolutely. I love the power of a story. That's one reason why I love theatre and movies so much.

A book that comes to mind for me is The Autobiography of Johnny Cash. The story of how he became an accomplished musician is one where his weaknesses made him who he was as a musician and a song writer...and a man who knew the grace of God.

I also love stories that ask questions. "Million Dollar Baby" comes to mind. I have no wish to ever see that movie again because everything in me didn't agree with choices the characters made at the end. But I still loved it because it made me ask the questions and figure out the answers. Nothing can do that better than a story.

Amy said...

I have actually never seen Million Dollar Baby. Awful, isn't it?

I haven't read Johnny Cash's autobiography either, but I'd like to. Thanks for the recommendation!

kathryn said...

oh, this sounds very heartbreaking and i would certainly cry as well, but now i must see it! thanx for making me aware of this movie.

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