Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 2014
, , , ,
105 min.
Release Date
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 2014 poster

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter opens with scrambled video from an overused cassette. Those familiar with Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo (1996) will recognize the image as the opening titles from that film. “This is a true story,” the titles falsely claim, along with details about when the event took place and how the names have been changed. Otherwise, the story has been told “exactly as it occurred.” This disclaimer has haunted moviegoers and true crime fanatics for decades, prompting countless investigations and speculation about the film’s actual events, even though Ethan Coen clarified at the time, “You don’t have to have a true story to make a true story movie.” Noah Hawley, showrunner of the FX’s anthology series Fargo, has maintained that tradition, and with each season, viewers question whether or not real events inspired the show. Truth becomes speculative fiction in the 2014 breakthrough film by David and Nathan Zellner, a film that, besides being wrapped up in Fargo’s post-release intertextuality, actually tells a real story. Well, sort of. Besides its questions of truth and allusionism, Kumiko is a beautiful if tragic tale that remarks on depression and media obsession with a touch of magical realism underscoring its profound sadness. 

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