Cats of Mirikitani(2006)
Documentary about red-bereted Jimmy Mirikitani, a feisty painter working and living on the street, near the World Trade Center, when 9/11 devastates the neighborhood. A nearby film editor, Linda Hattendorf, persuades elderly Jimmy to move in with her, while seeking a permanent home for him. The young woman delves into the California-born, Japan-raised artist's unique life which developed his resilient personality, and fuel his 2 main subjects, cats and internment camps. The editor films Jimmy's remarkable journey.
New York documentary filmmaker Linda Hattendorf should be proud of what she did in filming Asian-American artist Jimmy Mirikitani, his paintings, and his telling the stories of his life of living in an internment camp during World War II. This Sacramento-born, Hiroshima-raised artist is frank and occasionally profane in his feelings of what the American government had done to him especially when he had to sign his U. S. citizenship away, which explains why he initially refuses Social Security. Taking place before and after 9/11, Mirikitani experiences some deja vu when he watches television reports of Arab-Americans being treated like second-class citizens. But with Linda's help, he also talks on the phone with his sister who he lost contact with during the war and discovers a poet daughter of a cousin named Janice, who lives in San Francisco. He also gets his own apartment and starts teaching an art class. The most touching scenes come at the end when he and Linda travel back to where he was interned at Tule Lake. Essential viewing for anyone wanting to know how narrow-minded the American government was during World War II and how far we've come since then. Oh, and the title refers to the many cats he paints.