Last night I watched a movie about Jimmy Mirikitani. Jimmy is a Japanese Artist who was found living on the streets of NYC in Jan. 2001 by filmmaker Linda Hattendorf. He wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't a drug addict or mentally ill. No. He was an American Citizen, born in California 85 years ago who had the misfortune of being of Japanese dissent and placed in the California Japanese Internment Camps during WW2. His life would never be the same.
Rare is the film about an artist who doesn't appear to be suffering from mental illness or 'drama' that seems self indulgent. When the film first got started you see Jimmy on the streets and not looking so good. You don't know anything about him and it is easy to think he is crazy or an alcoholic. While not 'great', at first glance his art looked very simple and almost stunted in a childlike era both mechanically and subject wise. All of that vanishes as you get to know who the artist is, see his work and accomplishments throughout his life. His art takes on a new meaning and direction and will touch you deeply.
This documentary has so many messages about life, art and humanity. It was uplifting, touching and reminded me how art can heal. Art can touch. That people can make a difference one at a time. This movie won the tribecca film festival award for best documentary. You can read more about the filmakers and 'Jimmy' Mirikitani on their website: The Cats of Mirikitani. You can stream it on Netflix too.