Director: David Zellner
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Shirley Venard
Duration: 105 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Mild themes and brief bloody scenes
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“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
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.