Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (12A)
Directed by David
20th February - 26th February 2015
Someone commented that this film registered 11 on the quirkometer. I would
From the first few moments at the beginning, which consisted of video
tape interference, it was a joy to watch.
It was very slow-pace and wistful, with awe-inspiring cinematography
by Sean Porter, which made it even more appealing.
Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) a young Japanese woman, who appeared to have Obsessive
Compulsive Behaviour (OCB), in wanting to retrieve the money stashed in
the snow during the Coen Brothers' film Fargo. She could not comprehend
the fact that it was a scene from a movie and not part of real life.
She is a loner amid the city life of Tokyo, disengaged from her work
colleagues and her mother, who cannot comprehend why she does not have
a boyfriend does not have baby and is not married. No wonder Kumiko shies
away from this pressure to conform. Her only friend is Bunzo, a bunny
It is a compelling performance by Kikuchi, who is ever-present throughout
the 105 minutes.
There are a number of symbolic touches during the film, for instance,
when Kumiko flushes a mangled copy of the Fargo VHS tape down the toilet.
It made me think about the article I read last week about the limited
time span of technology, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Her fixation leads to her travelling to Minnesota to find the 'hidden
On the way to the destination she encounters a number of American oddball
characters but who are friendly towards her. notably a policeman, played
by the film's co-writer David Zellner, who implausibly buys new winter
clothing for her, soon after meeting her.
A particularly amusing scene occurs when the policeman, who is having
communication problems with Kumiko, due to her limited command of English,
drives her to a Chinese restaurant, thinking that Chinese people can readily
Cinematographer Porter excels in the frozen landscapes of Minnesota,
with sumptuous shots of snow covered forests. Abstract in the extreme.
The last sequence of Kumiko the Treasure Hunter is even more dreamlike
than what had preceded it. A fitting end to a wonderful film.