Cats of Mirikitani (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The Cats of Mirikitani is a look at an elderly street artist that turns into a sincere and deeply moving account of human compassion and healing.


Movie Info

Jimmy Mirikitani is an 80-year-old Japanese-American artist living on the streets of Soho in the summer of 2001, selling his art to passersby. A chance meeting with neighboring filmmaker Linda Hattendorf leads to a friendship that changes both their lives when Hattendorf takes him in after the events of 9/11 leave the neighborhood enveloped in a cloud of toxic smoke. As Hattendorf leads Jimmy through the process of reclaiming his life, she films Jimmy as he paints and draws in her apartment, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Linda Hattendorf
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 8, 2008
Runtime:
Public Broadcasting Service - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Cats of Mirikitani

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (14)

It should not have taken luck and a charitable filmmaker to save Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani.

Full Review… | August 24, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

By paying him attention and making this portrait, [director Hattendorf] makes us see Jimmy Mirikitani as a three-dimensional person and not a stereotype of homelessness. You leave the film glad to have met him.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Offering pleasant surprises and emotional revelations, it's a compassionate film about healing and the human connections that are vital to that process.

Full Review… | April 23, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

What begins as a straightforward docu on an elderly homeless artist in New York City winds up as an indictment of U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Full Review… | April 23, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

It's one of the best kinds of documentaries -- not calculated but serendipitous.

Full Review… | April 23, 2007
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Poignant beyond words, The Cats of Mirikitani is comparable to finding a pearl in a pile of oyster shells.

Full Review… | April 20, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cats of Mirikitani

Definitely not what I was expecting, although I'd only heard or read just a very little about this movie. While I expected the accomplished artist aspect, I had no idea that this would also be a very pointed examination of the WW II American internment of Japanese, most of them US citizens. It took me a while to figure out that the "cats" are not just a nod to one of Mirikitani's seeming favorite subjects, but they are also a key to one of his worst internment memories, the death at Tule Lake Camp of a young boy who loved cats and would always ask Mirikitani to draw them for him. It wasn't until the reunion of internees at Tule Lake, when Mirikitani mentions that story of the boy's death again, that the true plaguing meaning of his constant return to cats as subject hits home. And I must not fail to mention that a major theme here is that those people we see homeless on our streets are indeed people. Rather than ignore or avoid them, it might be wise to reach out to them. Hattendorf's reaching out to this particular homeless man served as a springboard to redemption, possibly both for Mirikitani and for Hattendorf. This is a must-see documentary.

binky013
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Documentary about a tenacious survivor who never loses his indignation against America and how it mistreated him and the thousands of other citizens put into prison camps during World War II. While watching the television reports of post 9/11 hatred of Muslims, he recalls the effects of xenophobia (I never get to use that word) on his own life. Some things never change.

No-frills from a filmmaker that smartly sees when your subject is interesting enough, you need only put the camera on him and let him do the rest. Jimmy Mirikitani has seen the best and the worst that history has had to offer, and he has come through it all with his love of art intact. Highly recommended.

DrBenway
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

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