We noticed a short NY Times review of documentary film that instantly intrigued us. The Cats of Mirikitani is about Jimmy Mirkitani, an elderly homeless Japanese-American man, who filmmaker Linda Hattendorf meets when he is drawing cats under the awning of a SoHo grocery. The two become friends and Hattendorf started shooting the documentary about him in 2001.

Mirkitani was born in Sacramento in 1920, was raised in Hiroshima, and returned to the U.S., only to be interned in Tule Lake during World War II. In the midst of Mirikitani and Hattendorf's developing friendship and documentary, September 11 occurs. Slant Magazine's Ed Gonzalez writes in his review, "Her camera catches the smoke coming out of the Twin Towers before it pans over to see her octogenarian subject working on one of his immaculate creations, his back to the nightmare panning out in the sky above. This man's gesture may seem innocent, but it is actually one of quiet defiance, and it would take 9/11 for Hattendorf to fully comprehend the great tragedy of Jimmy's life and what it tells us about American modes of aggression in times of war."

Hattendorf invites Mirikitani to live in her apartment after September 11, and tries to find out more about his life and experiences while also trying to get him more support from social programs. Cinematical writes, "The resulting film, The Cats of Mirikitani, is a treasure of personal filmmaking, created on a shoe-string budget and completely devoid of pretensions or aspirations beyond simple, intimate, storytelling."

The film won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival last year. It's playing for a week at Cinema Village on East 12th Street. And here's a Seattle Times article about Mirkitani.

Drawing by Jimmy Mirkitani