English and Japanese with English subtitles, 2014, 105 minutes, color, U.S.A.
U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Musical Score
Kumiko lives in a cluttered, cramped apartment in Tokyo with her pet rabbit, Bunzo. She works as an office lady, robotically preparing tea and fetching dry cleaning for her nitpicky boss. But on her own time, she obsessively watches a well-known American film on a weathered VHS tape. Rewinding and fast-forwarding repeatedly, she meticulously maps out where a briefcase of castaway loot is buried within the fictional film. After hours of intense research—convinced that her destiny depends on finding the money—Kumiko heads to the United States and into the harsh Minnesota winter to search for it.
Inspired by an urban legend about a Japanese woman who took a similar journey, filmmaker brothers David and Nathan Zellner (Sundance Film Festival alums many times over) tackle their most ambitious project to date. The Zellners’ love for lonely eccentrics remains intact, and Rinko Kikuchi gives a fascinating performance as the introspective, withdrawn Kumiko, whose increasing discomfort in the world leads her to retreat ever further into isolation. Shot with breathtaking precision, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter soars to transcendence as it reveals the beauty in the quest for reality, even if that reality is just your own.
Director: David Zellner
Screenwriters: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Producers: Nathan Zellner, Cameron Lamb, Chris Ohlson, Andrew Banks, Jim Burke
Cinematographer: Sean Porter
Production Designers: Kikua Ota, Chad Keith
Composer: The Octopus Project
Editor: Melba Jodorowsky
Principal Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Shirley Venard