"Nobody Knows" ~criticism in the US~

A Japanese movie, "Nobody Knows," also recived a high remars in New York. New York Times, Washitngon Post, or Village Voice, an independent cultural newspaper of New York city that pays attention to the wide range of cultural movements, all spent quite a lot of space to introduce this movie, which tells the strong interest in this foreing, low badget movie with a difficult theme dealing with social problems.

A boy appeared in this movie received the best prize for main actor as the youngest age in the history of Canne Film Festival. His performance was brilliant, but the movie needs the criticism for its theme and story rather than such prize, and fortunately those newspapre spent sincere and honest criticism of the movie itself. Although the US media tends keep some distance toward Canne Film Award compared to the enthusiasm for Academy Award or Golden Glove Award, the newspaper articles were much more honest and fair compared to the Japanese media, which took the "prize" as a nationalistic achievement as if it is seeking for the economic effect for the Japanese movie industry.

For such promotional treatment of movies by the media, the truth is many people are tired of how those movies are treated and dealt. Those who watched this movie, you notice that to pick up and deal with this movie is very delicate and difficult matter. The media circus was all but surface without seeing the point of this movie.

「The criticism for Nobody Knows」
In some of the US media, critics were arguing about the "distance" that the audience feels. New York Times said that the distance toward those children and the mother from the movie (the director's eye, or the audience's eye) is something like "a cold distance," beside the argument of whether keeping that distance is good or bad.

This is an extra from the theme, but interestingly New York Times is a local newspaper--but it is asked to send out the news worldwide so it actually collects various news across the glove. To give the standard remarks and comments over the various issues and matters with those various social and cultural background, its articles need to keep the third person viewpoint with critical eyes and certain distance. That notion of distance is very similar to the one that Mr. Kore-eda, the directer of the movie, tried to keep for making this film. It can be said that that his attitde to present this theme without charging it with exaggeration and emotion--a fairness of a journalistic viewpoint--broght a compathy among those media journalists.

The theme itself is more real to us Japanese and it is the theme to be dealt with by ourselves. For many American, the social reality itself of today's Japan is something external issue. However, the notion of distance toward such social issues and problems can be recognized and shared by anyone, thus in that sence there is no difference between Japanese audience and American audience in its core.

Above all the point of this movie is to make us audience to realize the existence of such reality, and to know the distance to ask its meaning. Mr. Kore-Eda might have presented this movie to promote such questioning. That enabled even the US audience and critics to see the "existence" of such social issues, and to think of the meaning of it to youself.

Of course, there are many social issues such and domestic problems in the US. The case of Nobody Knows is a very rare, unique case in Japan, but it is the same that the fact of many problems exist in most societies. Yet, the movie does not tell what kind of social disorder triggered this particular case, nor what can solve this kind of problems. It is clear that to provide such "solution" or an "answer" is not the point of this movie--it is asked to the audience to think about and act to deal with those issues, to produce a big wave in a society to involve larger general public.

Just saying as we keep staying at a comfortable place, "the mother is terrible as a mother and a person" or "why didn't those adults around the children notice what was going on?" toward this incident might be just the same as those adults in the movie. Such social issues and problems will never even known and realized as issues and problems as long as they just float around in the shadows of society, until we pull them to our side to learn. This movie is presenting that fact. And it is just the beginning even they are reconized, and the rest is our responsibility. This should be the intention of a true journalism.

Extra (to my Japanese friends):
Newspaper criticism has a great influence in the US--for example, NY Times criticism often defines the success and failure of movies and shows in New York.
New York Times has various independent sections such as movie, music, book, play, and art, etc. The weekend paper has an amazing thickness because of that.
By dividing into each section, each section can spend more space for ciriticism, and each section is written by those specialists and experts of the field. I remember that one severe criticism of a new musical forced it to close down in just three days.

Such newspapres like NY Times or Washington Post set the standard for American intellectuals, but that requires to have a third person point of view not to be influenced by the external pressure. It is also the fact that the liberal atmospher of New York intellectuals supports the independence of this paper, but at the same time it is ture that this paper might not represent the whole consensus of the US.

To carry a wide range of resources and viewpoints is the way to accept vaiours opinions and critical eyes for things and matters. New York is the plate to hold such varieties. In that sense, New York is the place where the most fair and critical opinions spring up.



久しぶりに遊びにきました!NY Timesは地方紙だったのですね。予想もしませんでした。
NY Timesの評価が全てではないでしょうが、もし今、日本にも「政治力や経済力を超えた第三者の視点を貫いている」メディアが存在していたならば、過去の浮世絵や歌舞伎などのような古典だけでなく、世界中にインスピレーションを与える日本独自の文化がもっと生まれているかもしれません。





BGM:Mr.Children(若者たちのすべてはTomorrow never knows☆満)昨日のことですが、また見ちゃいました。暇 「誰も知らない」・・・この映画は随分前から見たかったモノでしたが行きつけのT○UTAYAはいつもレンタル中。ま、火曜しかチェックしないからなんだけどね。(アス
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