Out today on Blu-ray, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter centers on Kumiko (Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi), an anti-social Japanese office worker who believes buried loot is actually hidden in the snow filled environs of North Dakota. Proof and clues of the “treasure” comes from a specific scene from Fargo (Kumiko owns a beat up VHS tape of the film).
Tired of her dead end life and job in Tokyo, Kumiko sacrifices everything for her quixotic mission (she even abandons her ramen eating rabbit Bunzo) and ventures to the United States. In a conversation with a security guard at a library, Kumiko tells him that she is “like a Spanish conquistador.”
Since Kumiko is a terse and introspective person, the film’s inspired and detailed visual language as well as its immersive score brings a deeper dimension into our protagonist’s complex inner workings.
Though it isn’t blessed with the extravagant budget afford to the average studio film, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is a feast for the eyes, as director David Zellner and cinematographer Sean Porter bring a painterly eye to the narrative. The film’s score, composed by The Octopus Project, is just as stunning.
The film’s idea originated in 2001, the Zellner Brothers (Nathan Zellner produces and co-stars in the film as one of the first people she meets in the States) came across the story of a Japanese woman died in Minnesota after she reportedly searched for the missing Fargo money. Though it was later discovered to be an urban legend, the Zellner Brothers became obsessed with the tale.
Special features on the Blu-ray include six minutes worth of deleted and alternate scenes, plus audio commentary from the Zellner Brothers and producer Chris Ohlson.
In the video below, David Zellner offers up filmmaking advice:
To check out 7 extra facts about Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, please check out our Deepest Dream post.