Aroview: Based on a notorious 1988 case where four abandoned children were found to have been living on their own devices out of a Japanese apartment for six months, this is perhaps dir. Kore-eda's (AFTER LIFE) most sustained and bewitching effort, plumbing the fragile worlds of childhood life.
Indefinitely abandoned by their wayward mother, it falls to eldest of the brood (Yagira) to keep the adhoc 'family' alive through what has become for the others a period of unlimited 'playtime' crossed with confusing emotional dislocation. Shot without a firm script, this shows the dir.'s gift for teasing an emotional subtext out of a blankly objective means. Poetical and subtley disturbing: a unique portrait of characters who have fallen through the cracks of society into a netherworld of the stunted imagination.
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