Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
Inspired by an urban legend that was itself inspired by the Coen brothers’ jest that their black comedy classic Fargo was based on a true story, another team of filmmaking brothers, David and Nathan Zellner, have crafted a quixotic adventure story as beguiling as it is wondrously strange. Oscar-nominated Kikuchi Rinko (Babel, Norwegian Wood) stars as the misfit Kumiko. A shy Tokyo office worker, she is demeaned by her bullying boss and perky younger co-workers while being constantly nagged by her busybody mother. Seeking an escape, she becomes fixated on a worn videotape of Fargo and is convinced that the suitcase full of ransom money buried in the snow by Steve Buscemi’s hapless kidnapper is real and waiting to be rediscovered.
“With a true believer’s fervor, Kumiko will get herself to the impossibly distant, exotic land of North Dakota – barriers of language, money, sufficient winter clothing and reality be damned. Her quest is as pure as it is, seemingly, insane. Whatever one might have expected next from the unpredictable Zellner brothers, this wasn’t it: A nearly plotless, frequently wordless road trip narrative, their absurdist humor boiled down to a cryptic, exquisite minimalism. It’s peopled with characters (including ones played by the siblings themselves) whose very human warmth is only heightened by Kumiko’s impenetrable oddity.” — Dennis Harvey, San Francisco International Film Festival
“A wonderfully weird – and ultimately compassionate – vamp on the power of fantasy and obsession that crosses international datelines.” — Kimberly Chun, San Francisco Bay Guardian