Based on true events that shocked Japan, this story of abandoned siblings is a "harrowing, tender film" (The New York Times) that "unfolds with leisurely beauty" (LA Weekly). Filmed over a year and featuring a performance by 12-year-old Yagira Yuya that won the Best Actor prize at the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival, this "haunting" (Newsday) tale is "heartbreakingly brilliant" (The Boston Globe). A childlike mother of four sneaks her children into their new apartment as if it were a game. One of the game’s rules is that only Akira, the oldest, can go outside. Their mother leaves, first for a month, then possibly forever. As the money runs out and the utilities are shut off, Akira struggles to take care of his brother and sisters, determined that they stay safe and together.
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