Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
- English spoken
Kumiko is not exactly in the prime of her life. She is tired of her dull office job and nagging boss. She is reprimanded often – and with good reason – for her obvious lack of commitment. Kumiko’s only distraction from her daily grind and loneliness are her rabbit Bunzo and an old videotape of the crime film Fargo.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, is a darkly funny story about a lonely young woman in Tokyo, played by Rinko Kikuchi (known for Pacific Rim (2013) and Babel (2006), amongst others). The film by brothers David and Nathan Zellner, infamous in American indie circles, is about the tension between expectation and reality, and about the power of a dream as an escape from the disappointments that daily life brings.
You have to give it to him, Kumiko’s boss definitely tries to encourage her. But his remarks about fresh-faced 25-year-olds eager to take her place, hardly help to dispel the deafening drudgery. There is nothing left in real life to hold her interest. The only person she still speaks to sometimes – her mother, who only asks if she’s had a promotion yet and whether or not she finally found a boyfriend – doesn’t help much either.
Kumiko endlessly studies the details of one particular scene in Fargo – the one in which a suitcase with money is buried in the snow. The hidden treasure slowly takes on mythical proportions in her mind. She becomes convinced it really exists. While the frustrations about her own life keep piling up, Kumiko escapes into fantasies about finding the suitcase from a fictional 1996 film. For a short while, but increasingly often, she imagines herself to be an explorer finding treasures in America.
When Kumiko begins to prepare for her big voyage of discovery, only worries about her pet rabbit Bunzo keep her from departing. When they’re in the park, nearing the time of his release, Bunzo doesn’t move. Kumiko gets angry because her rabbit doesn’t run towards his freedom, betraying her own helplessness in a touching way. Why is it so hard for her to live a free life?
In the end she goes for it. With a map, a self-embroidered treasure map and a stolen credit card, she goes all out to find her treasure on the snowy tundra of Minnesota.