Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter doesn’t possess a narrative that’s chock full of exposition but instead opts for a more sublime form of communication. Director David Zellner’s story of a Japanese woman’s (Oscar nominated actress Rinko Kukuchi) determined quest for a buried suitcase filled with cash is a visual and aural feast, giving us an immersive, open-ended journey into ambiguity.
Zellner and cinematographer Sean Porter paint Kumiko’s excursion into snow bound Minnesota with a picaresque, epic eye. But life isn’t all wide open spaces for our protagonist, as the filmmakers also show Kumiko constrained world in her cramped, Tokyo apartment.
As a frustrated office worker dwarfed in an all consuming metropolis, Kumiko hungers for an entirely new adventure. Even if her explorations take a toll on her loved ones (including her rabbit Bunzo) and maybe even a bit of her sanity, Kumiko is determined to find, as one title card in the film suggests, the “new world.”
***I’ll be posting a review of Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter this weekend as well as more clips from my interview with David Zellner.