Directors who have been on the PR circuit long enough often have their answers ready before the interviewer's questions are halfway out of his mouth. Not Hirokazu Kore-eda. Despite the dozens of interviews he's given since "Nobody Knows (Daremo Shiranai)" screened in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, he still thinks his answers through, which can be disconcerting for an interviewer confronted with silence instead of the hoped-for torrent of words. But Kore-eda, who began his career filming award-winning documentaries for the TV Man Union production company, speaks with directness, precision and flashes of humor that make the waits worthwhile.

How would you say the Japanese audience reaction to "Nobody Knows" differs from the reaction at Cannes? Here people are obviously more aware of the situation the children face.

There's no fundamental difference. The Japanese audience has really responded to the film well, but they tend to connect it with the real incident [on which it's based], while foreign audiences are more inclined to see it strictly as a work of art.