Over the weekend, I finally got around to watching the documentary about Japanese American artist Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, and it was as good as everyone said it was, exceeding my expectations. I didn't want to read up on the film too much and I discovered pretty quickly into the movie that this was hardly about cats, and was much more than a mere artist's biography. I will admit, it was a bit of a tear jerker, towards the end at least, only because it had such a triumphant and beautiful ending. The film made me think about how one person can make a huge difference in the life of another individual, and how in turn that individual can affect the world in a positive way. I wonder what would have become of Jimmy, if not for a benevolent and curious woman, who took him into her home, after he spent twenty years on the streets of NYC surviving off of his art. How he got there is a whole other story, and how his life changed from the moment he met filmmaker Linda Hattendorf is the stuff of legend.
From the film's website: "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 her home, the two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past. An intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing powers of friendship and art, this documentary won the Audience Award at its premiere in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival."
Please don't miss this beautiful film, whether you have an interest in art, artists, or simply the way real everyday people live their lives through both bad times and good. It's a truly irresistible little movie about an equally irresistible little man with an enormous, vibrant soul.