Watch the closing credits of Kore-Eda’s Nobody Knows very carefully. (Obv watch the whole film first, its pretty damn good, but stick around for the start of the credits even though its slight overlong running time might be putting pressure on your bladder). After a measured, non-hysterical film playing the downside of the Home Alone scenario, the actors playing the five main kids names come up. And then the name of the mother who is around for the first twenty minutes and then takes leave of her kids. Who is this actress playing this potentially demonising role? The Kore-Eda suggests it is YOU!

(This may be just a quirk of translating, but I don’t think it is).

It is a compliment almost, as the mother plays a vital role in setting up the scenario. She smuggles her kids into the apartment whose landlords so not want kids in it. She is the one who tells them that they do not want to go to school. And when she leaves you almost feel sympathetic. Almost. The film does not want to be too judgmental about her, it does not want us to blame one person when this is an issue in society.

If the film has a judgment at all it is how these four kids can live for a year with no parents, no power, water and little if any money without anyone noticing or caring. Reading around the subject there is a greater Japanese story about kids often born out of wedlock who are never declared as being born so do not legally exist. Yet for all their virtual imprisonment in the apartment for the first half of the film, even when they start tramping Tokyo in search of food and water, still no-one notices. Yes they are superhumanly well behaved children, but their increasing dirt and threadbare clothes should become aware to the shopkeepers they regularly see. The fact they survive for so long makes you as an audience wary, as the film gets past two hours you are really not sure how (or when) it is going to end. If the film has anything to say though it is not that Nobody Knows as Nobody Cares.