Inspired by true events, this enchanting and powerfully affecting new film from David & Nathan Zellner tells the true story of a young woman’s extraordinary journey from Japan to Minnesota, in search of a mythic fortune.

Director: David Zellner
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Shirley Venard
Duration: 105 mins
Country of Origin: United States

PGMild themes and brief bloody scenes


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Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

“Memorable, haunting and highly original. A darkly hypoptic voyage into Fargo-fuelled madness. Nothing can prepare you for the hypnotic visual and auditory spell cast by this movie.”
Andrew O’Hehir, SALON

★★★★
“Quietly magnificent. A pronounced & ambiguous allegory (that) should put the Zellners on the map: one day, the Coens will make movies inspired by them.”
Jonathan Romney, THE OBSERVER

“Blissful. One of the best films to ever premiere at Sundance. Truly unforgettable.”
David Ehrlich, FILM.COM

“An enchanting, original work of art. A haunting adventure for the ages in one of this century’s most breathtaking independent films.”
Lindsey Bahr, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

“A beguiling fable of buried treasure and movie-fed obsession. It’s a marvellous role for Kikuchi, who has the intensity of the great silent film stars… At every turn, we can sense what’s going on behind Kumiko’s doleful, downcast eyes; Kikuchi pulls us deeply into her world.”
Scott Foundas, VARIETY

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL (Winner, Special Jury Prize)
2014 BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Forum)
2014 SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL (Official Competition)

2015 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS – NOMINEE
Best Director & Best Female Lead

The enchanting and powerfully affecting new film from David & Nathan Zellner, inspired by true events, KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER tells the story of a young woman’s extraordinary journey from Japan to Minnesota, in search of a mythic fortune.

The eponymous heroine, indelibly portrayed by Academy Award-nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), lives a shy and solitary life in a cramped Tokyo apartment shared only by her beloved pet rabbit Bunzo. Increasingly isolated, constantly browbeaten by her mother who complains that she isn’t married yet, and stuck in a dead-end job with a demeaning boss, Kumiko devotes all her spare time to compulsive viewings of Joel and Ethan Coen’s classic Fargo. It’s not so much the film that fascinates her, more the suitcase of cash Steve Buscemi’s hapless kidnapper buries beneath the snow in the titular city’s outskirts.

Rewinding and fast-forwarding her weathered VHS tape to the point of its destruction, Kumiko meticulously hand-sews a map that pinpoints where she believes the money remains buried, and commences a life-changing odyssey towards the wintry American Midwest to claim it.

Gloriously realised and utterly one-of-a-kind, KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER is a tender and beguiling tale of obsession and delusion that lays bare the universal human need for adventure, and soars to a profoundly moving climax that reveals both the danger and magic of the intoxicating effects of cinema.

MORE…
David & Nathan Zellner discuss Kumiko before its World Premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival (video)

Director David Zellner on the red carpet, ahead of the Australian Premiere in official competition at Sydney Film Festival (9 June, 2014)

Indiewire interviews Rinko Kikuchi about her astonishing performance as Kumiko, and what makes her tick.

4:3 Films’ Conor Bateman talks urban legends, music and Bunzo the Rabbit with David Zellner.

David Zellner discusses the fine line between humour and pathos, Werner Herzog as an influence, and the significance of ski lifts with The Lumière Reader’s Brannavan Gnanalingam.

David Zellner interview with SBS. (video)

“Meet Bunzo, the rabbit that’s taking Hollywood by storm” Time Out New York

Cinematographer Sean Porter, profiled as one of the ’25 New Faces of Independent Film’ in Filmmaker Magazine

That time Werner Herzog hosted a post-screening Q&A with the Zellner Brothers – Paste Magazine

“Why the nostalgia for Fargo” – The Globe & Mail

“Tokyo, Texas,” David Zellner with Filmink’s Andrew Moraitis.

“Rinko Kikuchi on bunnies, the Mako Mori test, and Kumiko The Treasure Hunter” with USA Today.

David Zellner with Flicks.co.nz‘s Steve Newall

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

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