Saturday, August 28, 2010
Just watched a nice documentary titled The Cats of Mirikitani, about Jimmy Mirikitani, a scrappy, independent eighty-year old Japanese-American artist who was living on the streets of New York City and doing his paintings and drawings (staying at this time at night in the enclosed plastic flower display area owned by a Korean shopkeeper), until the filmmaker happens upon him and ends up taking him home and assisting him to get into better housing (initially as a result of the results of the 9/11 disaster that happened as she was filming him nearby), while recording his work and memories. He was born in Sacramento and interned at Tule Lake during WWII, and that experience heavily influenced his art. He was separated from his family and apparently had not communicated to any of them (most of his mother's family were killed at Hiroshima) for more than 50 years, as he moved east (first somewhat forced to work on a farm, and then to New York, where he claimed to have cooked for Jackson Pollack and served as a chauffeur in NYC). The film is a loving portrait of an artist and tough man, and in the end he forgives his anger after visiting Tule and reconnecting with his sister. His art is amazing (and one wonders how great he could have been if he had been allowed freedom and wasn't discriminated against).