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The Cats of Mirikitani
The Cats of Mirikitani
Actor: Tsutomu Mirikitani
Director: Linda Hattendorf
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
NR     2008     1hr 36min

Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of WWII internment camps, Hiroshima, and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets and a local filmmaker brings him to ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Tsutomu Mirikitani
Director: Linda Hattendorf
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Health
Studio: Arts Alliance America
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/08/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Best Film of 2007
D. Alban | Arlington, VA | 02/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's a real shame that almost no one saw this film (it never got a wide theatrical release), because it's my pick for the best film of 2007. Without giving too much away, it's a fascinating documentary about Jimmy Mirikitani, an elderly NYC steet artist of Japanese descent who is befriended, and ultimately taken in off the streets, by the documentarian herself, Linda Hattendorf.

As Linda gets to know Jimmy, and tries to find him a permanent place to live, she begins to find out about his past through his drawings and conversations with him. Meanwhile, they both experience the aftermath of 9/11 together, which reminds Jimmy of how America responded to an earlier surprise attack on American soil, and the dramatic turn of events it caused in his own life...

The Cats of Mirikitani is a deeply moving film about one person's compassion for another, a friendship that develops between them, and the fascinating unearthing of Jimmy Mirikitani's personal history. While it is primarily a personal film, it can't help but also touch on the political aspects of how our nation reacts in times of crisis, and the rippling effects this can have many years later. Jimmy Mirikitani's art is revealed as subtle political commentary based on his own poignant personal experiences.

This is a must-see film for documentary lovers and anyone who's interested in the human condition. I give it my strongest possible recommendation - do not miss The Cats of Mirikitani."
An amazing, REAL journey of the heart
L. Morrill | 09/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What probably started as curiosity and sympathy turns into a life experience of discovery, friendship and love - the real kind. Beautiful, haunting, true to the human spirit. This is a moving story about a street person, Jimmy Mirikitani, who turns out to be a grand master artist running from a past of the cruelties of the American Japanese internment camps. He is a passionate artist, with dual citizenship, who was born in American, educated in Japan, and eventually came back to America to pursue his passion - art, in his own style - a fusion of orient and occident. But after the cruel internment and losing his American citizenship in the process, he ends up with nothing, yet desparately continues his art. With no sense of placement in any country, he begins living on the fringes of American society. When his luck runs out, he ends up on the street. This is where the story begins. He carries a quiet anger and bitterness, yet never for one moment does he sway from his deep seeded commitment to his art. He has no self pity, he has only the integrity and beauty of the artistic vision within. The director starts filming, following his life, but then 9/11 happens and he has no where to go. She gives him a place to stay, and thus ensues the lively friendship that fills both of their lives with surprises, warmth, respect and eventually, true friendship. This ultimately offers Jimmy a vehicle for coming full circle - to a place of acceptance and healing. This is one of my favorite all-time documentaries - it's magic."
An Incredible Journey
B. E. Smith | Tokyo, Japan | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary was a bit pricey, but my goodness, well worth it. After befriending Jimmy Mirikitani, the filmmaker takes us on a journey from homelessness, through the tragedy of 9/11, through Jimmy's rightful hatred for the US government (oddly enough, later on in the film he's seen wearing a baseball cap with the American flag and eagle on it!), meeting his long-lost family, revisiting the internment camp he was held captive in in Tula Lake, his acceptance of his status as an America citizen and placement in a assisted living apartment using his social security, and (through the special features) his eventual return to Hiroshima for a visit on the national day of mourning. I just finished the film and it is fresh in my mind. Tears were shed. A very emotional and rewarding documentary that I can highly recommend to everyone. Definitely a film that will remain in your heart, because it makes entry."
Best documentary in the golden age of documentaries
Woodrow | Seattle | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If the Bible were being written today, this story could go in it.
Don't miss it! A true story of injustice, pride, tragedy, comedy, and
great, great compassion. Plus a true happy ending. You will think twice
before you ever judge a street person, or anyone who is down and out.
You just don't know what amazing story may be in front of you. Among all
the excellent documentaries making the rounds of the film festivals the
past ten years, this has been the most beneficial and most memorable."