films

30 Films: Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

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So yeah, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter. The plot sounds quite like a surreal fantasy film: a socially disconnected women living a dreadfully dull city life in Tokyo sets for a quest in search of a treasure she saw on Fargo.

Dude, really?

But then, it is a tricky story to work on–if it was not taken care by the right hands, it would spin into an unrealistic, dramatic film about mental illness. If it was aimed to give the audience a deeply philosophical life experience, it would just seem pretentious. Instead, the Zellner brothers give it a right amount of everything, a soul, and the outcome was a humble arthouse film that kind of hits home.

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Kumiko the Treasure Hunter managed to pull the whole “looking for the meaning of life” thing. You know, that thirst for having a glorious purpose burdened on your shoulder, that urge to run away, just to look for something, that could be as simple as happiness. It could also be an accurate depiction of stumbling to conform within the confining lines of society, while being burdened with depression or anxiety.

Rinko Kikuchi owns the spotlight with her wonderful performance as a socially inept person failing to understand her own life. She delivers so much emotions with such few lines. Another thing that made the movie perfect was the beautiful cinematography. Sean Porter captured wonder in the middle of everything, from Tokyo’s rhythmically alluring city life to the mystical snowy Minnesota. Even the tiny aesthetic details and nicely toned color scheme brings the film alive.

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I’ve been wanting to see this film before, because a) the title sounds so Ghibli, then it must be a fluffy cute film!!!!! b) RINKO KIKUCHI, and c) IN THAT RED JACKET??? First impressions could be fairly misguiding. This is not, in any way, a cute anime adaptation of a pretty awkward girl in a red jacket, going on adventures with her rabbit. It deals with the reality, in a hard way. Kumiko is often puzzled and disconnected from reality, and most of the time, the society doesn’t respond well to the likes of her. There were pressure from her mum to be a perfect daughter, and social demands her boss and her friend. Not everyone could also understand her needs to get to the treasure, her salvation. It takes quite a lot to dive in and reflect on these emotional aspects, which is one of the reason this movie is great. Not to mention the heartwarming ending that kind of made my day for a couple while.


Um, yeah. Two down, 29 to go. See my verdicts on the top 30 film of 2015 so far on the tag “30films”.

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