The Mystery of the Fargo Treasure - A Tragic
This great indie mystery drama is really a Tragic Fairytale
about the sad 29 year old Tokyo girl Kumiko (played
perfection by co-producer Rinko Kikuchi) - The Treasure Hunter. She's
an office worker slightly out of synch with
her work-mates and maybe with the whole japanese society, a loner and
just slightly off-kilter.
Her only joys in life seems to be cuddling her pet rabbit Bunzo, to
spit in her boss teacup and to hunt treasures.
She has to endure depressing speaches from her boss about her age, asking
her if she has got a boyfriend and if she's
a homosexual, and tells her that many younger girls wants to take her
place at the office. Kumiko's telephone conver-
sations with her mother are even worse .... does she have a boyfriend,
is she pregnant, and if not she must move back
home and take care of her mother (and behave like a normal japanese
woman). But Kumiko wants nothing of that,
she wants to hunt treasures and she sees herself as a spanish conquistador,
hunting treasures in America.
Actually, she's on the hunt for a treasure in North America, in cold
spot Fargo, North Dakota and buried in the snow.
Kumiko has got hold of an old VHS cassette of the Coen
Brothers film Fargo and in it she detects hidden clues from
which she makes textile treasure maps. The Brief-case filled with money
that Steve Buscemi, in the film, buries in the
snow close to a fence somewhere in the vicinity of Fargo - that buried
treasure it's hers.
She steals her boss/company's credit card, let her rabbit loose and
travels without luggage to Minnesota, USA.
Its winter and snow everywhere, it's cold and like Lil' Red Riding Hood
she's dressed in her (too thin) red hood jacket.
The card soon is useless (blocked) and without money and proper clothing,
how will she get to Fargo, situated in North
Dakota, but next to the border of Minnesota ?
She meets some very nice people on her way, an old woman
that takes her home and who wants to show her the
best of Minnesota ... but not the this-time-a-year nasty cold spot Fargo.
She meets the probably nicest cop in the
USA in deputy Caldwell (from a Tyrrell County that don't exist in Minnesota)
and he really wants to help her even
though he tries to explain to her that the treasure she seeks is Fake
and only exists in the film.
But, to no avail as Kumiko is very sure - "Not Fake, Real".
The deputy is played nicely by director David Zellner.
Is Kumiko "really" a Treasure Hunter
Even if this film should be tragic it felt more uplifting
than sad to me. Kumiko may be off-kilter and out of synch
with her japanese surroundings, but maybe it's her work-mates and boss
at the office and her mother that's on the
wrong paths in life, living their conformistic lives with a narrow view
on existence. Maybe.
A Great thing about this film is that it's really ambiguous
whether Kumiko "really" IS a Treasure Hunter or not, if
she really can detects clues in her surroundings that leads to a treasure,
or if she's a nutcase.
That's the mystery. In the intro of the film we actually see Kumiko
follow one of her textile maps and find a buried
VHS cassette of the film Fargo in a cave on a japanese beach. Who buried
that cassette ?
So, Steve Buscemi's brief-case with the money may still be out there,
buried close to a fence somewhere in Fargo,
North Dakota at the border to Minnesota ? Hmmm, maybe one should watch
Fargo again and make a map ?
The Film has got a quietly haunting meditative quality
to it and the cinematography from Sean Porter is Great.
A Clever script by the Zellner Brothers, a bravura performance from
Rinko Kikuchi (born 1981) makes this film
a great viewing experience. Kumiko in the snow, unforgettable
anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, DTS-HD 5.1 or 2.0 stereo english with
Extras: Commentary track with Director, co-script writer, actor David
Zellner and co-script writer and actor
Nathan Zellner, theatrical trailer, casting Bunzo, slideshow drawings,
a grim final, Kumiko's mailman, getting
pivotal, Robert and Brad, the long drive