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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2015)

A mentally unstable young Japanese woman (Rinko Kikuchi, an Oscar nominee for BABEL) is obsessed with the American film FARGO. With a minimal command of the English language and a stolen credit card, she journeys to Minnesota in search of the buried money shown in the film which she believes is a true story. KUMIKO debuted at the 2014 Sundance film festival and spent the rest of 2014 making the film festival circuit. It is only now that it is being released in the U.S. and elsewhere. The title sounds like an animated Japanese feature from the Studio Ghibli but it's based on the suicide of Takako Konishi, a Japanese office worker who was found dead in a field in Minnesota, which has blossomed into a sort of urban legend that she died looking for money Steve Buscemi buried in the film FARGO. As directed by David Zellner (who plays a kindly policeman in the film), it's relentlessly grim. One can pretty much sense where the film is going and once it leaves Japan and gets to Minnesota, you're sure of it ..... and it does. I don't know if I can say I "enjoyed" it but I did like it. I could have done without the faux coda however which seems out of place. With Nobuyuki Katsube and Shirley Venard.

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