Kumiko , The Treasure Hunter (David Zellner,2014)


As a Film cultures student we are forced to watch a movie each week to discuss in class. Now this may seem great, watching films in class but you would be wrong. We don’t watch them in class we watch them for class. As in our own time we are forced to go to a screening of some of the weirdest films I have ever heard of.  Last week’s film was Kumiko treasure hunter.  So basically by reading this and maybe even watching you can have an insight into a second year film cultures university module. Lucky you!

Kumiko is based on a Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) who believes that the money that was buried in the snow within the film ‘Fargo’ (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1996) is real and is still there. Therefore, she takes a trip over to America in hopes to get to one of the coldest places in America (Fargo) in just a hoodie, to find the money. Throughout the film she encounters people upon her journey but due to the language barrier there is little dialogue. However, the film is still clear without much speech, a rarity in Hollywood.


Kumiko is not your traditional Hollywood film, there is no action or no love and worst of all there is no clear ending. The film starts off slow and pretty much stays slow throughout the whole film. There are parts where you think something could happen but you will usually be disappointed. I find the most action packed and edge of your seat part of the film is when she leaves her bunny ‘Bonzo’ on a train (what a Bitch) and when she runs away from paying a variety of bills. On the other hand, in terms of filmic techniques such as camera work, the use of colour and the use of sound it is a fantastic watch and text to analyse, hence why I was forced to watch it on my day off. Her simple red coat can compare to the use of colour in films such as ‘Shindlers list’ (Steven Spielberg, 1993) and ‘Sin City (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, 2005), it’s powerful and sets her apart from all the other characters. However, I think her strange and shy personality does that anyway.


Kumiko is a very confused woman, who refuses to believe that the money in a film isn’t real. She is constantly told throughout and clearly can’t tell the difference between film and reality. However, you do have to admire the use of intertextual references (when the film includes references to other art works); we get to watch a lot of Fargo during this film so if you ever wanted to watch Fargo you no longer need to. With the film Fargo our beloved character creates a map of the fence and where the treasure is buried compared to where the character is.  Yes, our character is that clueless towards the difference of cinema and real life. Maybe Fargo just seems so realistic? I mean, the position of the money on screen could be very different from where the character was actually standing during filming and also the money is also prop money! So even if she found the money it would not be useable. I could just rant like this for days and if you have seen the film so could you.


The film does have clear plot and narrative but doesn’t really draw in your attention, I wouldn’t say I was bored but I would never have opted to watch it and I certainly won’t be watching it again any time soon.  The only interesting part of the film is the last 3 minutes where we think she has died but the film is very unclear on it. Again not like many Hollywood films. But if you want to watch it then be my guest, you may find it highly educational or you are in my class and missed the screening we had last Wednesday.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.

Check out my review on


Warrior (Gavin O’Connor, 2011)


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