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798 Ratings

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Directed by David Zellner
United States, 2014


A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune.

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Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Directed by David Zellner

Awards & Festivals

Sundance Film Festival

2014 | Winner: Dramatic (Special Jury Prize)

Independent Spirit Awards

2015 | 2 nominations including: Best Director

A cool, devastating midwestern mystery that weaves contemporary urban legend into its own riff on the Coen brothers’ Fargo. Short-form description does it few favours, but it’s an off-track beauty.
June 28, 2015
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Kumiko is a character worthy of comparison to Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, another being defined solely by an unreachable goal. For all of Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter’s concerns with the blurring of cinema and life, what sticks is its portrait of singular faith. The film affirms cinema as a natural home for characters whose outsized obsessions reflect each of our smaller rebellions against the oppressions of conformity.
April 13, 2015
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I was impressed by how closely the Zellners have replicated a certain style of contemporary Japanese cinema, maintaining a delicate balance between fantasy, light comedy, and bittersweet drama… In films of this stripe, the camera often sits at a polite distance from the characters, whose behavior is similarly reserved, and the serene tone makes the ridiculous plot turns feel especially odd. This brand of comedy speaks to the pervasive gentility of Japanese culture.
March 25, 2015
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