Kinta and Ginji 金太と銀次 Dir: Takuya Dairiki, Takashi Miura (2020)

Kinta and Ginji    Kinta and Ginji Film Poster

金太と銀次 Kinta to Ginji

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Takuya Dairiki, Takashi Miura

Writer: Takuya Dairiki, Takashi Miura (Script),

Starring: Takuya Dairiki, Takashi Miura

“No man is a failure who has friends”

Welcome to the friendship between Kinta and Ginji, the titular duo of an indie film written, edited, scored, performed, and co-directed by Takuya Dairiki and Takashi Miura. Friends since childhood, for their 12th film together these native sons of Osaka have concocted a warmhearted and whimsical experience that you probably won’t see outside of a film festival but it bears the charms of a well-worn friendship.

Kinta & Ginji follows the daily lives of Kinta, a raccoon who wears a red cap, and Ginji, a boxy robot with a shiny silver sheen. They are played by the directors, in their simple self-made costumes, and they are portrayed living in an unremarkable forest where they spend their time chatting with the comedic patter of Kansai dialect which we hear in winding conversations as the two wend their way through the woods. This wryly funny buddy movie doesn’t really have any structure to it other than most scenes have circular conversations and some conversations are iterative as they get circled back to later during the friend’s perambulations.

Kinta and Ginji’s ability to talk is inexhaustible and covers things sometimes profound but mostly banal. The charms of polishing rocks and the difficulties in climbing trees are discussed with the same seriousness as the prospect of dying and the guys are there to reassure each other throughout it all. Amidst all of the chatter and cod philosophising the two occasionally introduce more characters like family through remembering off-screen interactions. Their relationship isn’t always sweet as sharp barbs and dagger-like critiques are sometimes passed between them amidst the humorous anecdotes, but their bond remains unbreakable and provides the film with its heart. The more we follow them, the more charming they become until we are fully keyed into their odd friendship.

A lot of the easy way they interact must come from the directors long experience with each other and so the laid back observational camerawork and minimalist style denotes the rapport between the performers and the confidence they have with the material. A static camera catches the two meandering and lazing around the undergrowth in very long cuts with simple edits for scene transitions. There is no set decoration of any sorts and the costumes are so unashamedly DIY goofy as to be charming. The environment is plain but seeing the two in their incongruous outfits emerge from the undergrowth never fails to be amusing.

The audio is equally lo-fi. The ambient sound is rich with the sound of the woods so it is noticeable how the actors have recorded their lines and, in the case of voicing Ginji, run them through some sort of filter. Indeed, it is initially hard to discern between the two until you can pick out the slightly tinnier robotic sound of Ginji’s voice. After that, we can appreciate his slightly sharper tongue and attribute a downer attitude to him. Ginji can also control music with what sounds like an in-built cassette tape player (with the perfect snap of the button presses!) which leads to some funny gags and musical interludes which are scored by lo-fi rawk and synthesizer music that actually amps up the excitement of the film.

This fantasy is whimsy with lots of dry humour experienced as the friend’s pick their way through the landscape and into the hearts of viewers. You will not see anything like this outside of a festival. The audio, visuals and the performance of Kinta and Ginji’s friendship create a unique feel. This is like stumbling across a rare concept album by an esoteric progressive folk rock band from a bygone age. Something which you can sit back and just enjoy as you spend some time with Kinta and Ginji. Actually, on a bigger screen this would have been transcendent, with an audience giggling and laughing causing you to laugh even more too.

My review was first posted on V-Cinema on July 23rd

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