A jaded Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in a fictional film, Fargo, is in fact, real. With a crudely drawn treasure map and limited preparation, she escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune.Written by
In a Q&A at the London Sundance Film Festival 2014, the director (and his brother who was not present) claimed that the ambiguous introduction was heavily influenced by the beginnings of the James Bond films that they so loved as children. See more »
When she is visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, that is in Bemidji, MN which is located in Beltrami County. The Sheriffs car that pulls up says Tyrrell County on the side which doesn't exist in Minnesota. See more »
The credits are almost entirely bilingual in English and Japanese -- even though the movie has never been released in Japan as of early 2016 (either in theaters, media, or internet streaming). See more »
An unusual American Dream story. 'Kumiko' continues 'Fargo's corruption of money theme.
I wonder what the Coen brothers think to this film - besides the fact they apparently didn't credit the use of the scenes from Fargo. Not that anyone would mistake it for anything else. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter has one of the most absurd setups for such an otherwise archetypal story. If there wasn't such a well known case of it actually happening, it would be difficult to swallow. It's simultaneously an American Dream and a culture rejection story that would make Ozu proud. In her pursuit for unimaginable riches, Kumiko neglects all aspects and expectations of her life, burning bridges every step of the way. It's a harsh examination of modern standards for young Asian women subverted with a 'gold rush' trope.
Kumiko is of course the least likely suspect for this journey, but that makes it more engaging than anyone else. While it feels like she gets out of situations by literally escaping without much of a scratch too often, its frequency paints a portrait of how far she's getting to each point of no return. In true Coen fashion, its fleeting supporting cast are memorably eccentric and provide much of the humour while lead Rinko Kikuchi provides the gravitas of the drama, taking the bizarre quest sincerely in every step. The photography is exquisite, contrasting the two worlds but putting America in the same tone and pace as Japan. Kumiko is a great tribute to the Coen's study of the corruption of money, building on it in the most out of the box way.
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