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love for lonely eccentrics remains intact, and Rinko Kikuchi gives a fascinating performance as the introspective, withdrawn Kumiko, whose increasing discomfort in the world leads her to retreat ever further into isolation.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.

Credits

Director: David Zellner
Screenwriter: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Shirley Venard

About the Director

David and Nathan Zellner are Austin-based filmmakers who have written, produced, and directed numerous award-winning shorts and two feature films, Goliath and KID-THING. Goliath premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, while KID-THING followed a 2012 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival with an extensive festival run, including an international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema held a retrospective of the Zellner brothers’ work to date in 2012.