Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

04 October 2015

Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, the Zellner Brothers. movie, is based on a true story of a young Japanese woman who convinced herself that the Coen Brothers movie Fargo was a true story and that the treasure that Steve Buscemi buries next to a fence in a snow-covered field is a real treasure that she can go dig up.


The movie stars Rinko Kikuchi and is quirky and sad and more indebted to the Coen Brothers than I can even really begin to say. It has the same types of very funny salt-of-the-earth characters for which the Coens are known, and it shifts tone from incredibly bleak to totally absurd in the blink of an eye. It is, in fact, a kind of absurdist, existential film that works very, very well. The Coens, after all, are not bad masters to have, and if the movie owes much to them, the Zellners are certainly up front about their love for their predecessors and their debts to them. In any case, Kumiko is beautifully acted and thoroughly enjoyable, with a hopeful, whimsical strain to its tragic story.