This is one of those stranger than fiction stories that no matter how many times you read it, you can’t believe it’s true (and nobody’s still quite sure). Director David Zellner’s eye was caught by a December 2001 newspaper headline; “Cult Film Sparked Hunt for a Fortune,” and it led him down a path to making this film — now an award winning feature up for two Independent Spirit Awards. In David and younger brother Nathan’s retelling, they imagine the story through the eyes of Kumiko (fictional name), a young Japanese girl who took those words at the beginning of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo at face value.
“THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
Kumiko (played by Academy Award nominee, Rinko Kikuchi), travels to North Dakota unable to speak much English, and with only a crude, hand drawn map of where she believes Steve Buscemi’s Carl buried all that money under the snow. (Bismarck police tried to tell the real “Kumiko” that the events in Fargo really weren’t true, to no avail and a terrible end.)
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter has already made the festival rounds and won several awards. The trailer has a wonderful Coen brothers vibe, and without uttering a single word, Kikuchi is completely captivating:
You can read more about the real “Kumika’s” fascinating story here; *Spoilers, obvs.
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter also stars Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, Kanako Higashi, and David and Nathan Zellner; it premieres March 13, 2015.