Thursday, December 11, 2008

Independent Lens | THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI | PBS

Filmmaker Linda Hattendorf came upon an 80 year old homeless man in her New York City neighborhood who drew all day, picture after picture. During the 9/11 chaos, she invited him to come stay at her apartment and from there...well I won't tell you. Very inspiring and moving.

The beginning of the movie is quite sad, addressing homelessness, 9/11 and the internment of the Japanese during WWII. But once Hattendorf invites Jimmy home, his life turns around. And his artwork and art-making is inspiring. He is rarely without a pen, pencil or marker in hand even in the midst of winter on the street. Heartening. Heartening too is the very fact of Hattendorf's kindness and generosity and the results that come out of her actions to help Jimmy.

28 comments:

Cestandrea said...

Thanks Suki for showing us this video and for telling us the story about this homeless artist. Oh what a generosity, to invite him home! I wish I would have the courage to do that.
love
Andrea

Teri C said...

That is amazing! That will be me in my old age-they will give me paints and I'll be happy. Thanks for sharing this Suki.

Lynn said...

What beautiful drawings this man makes...my heart ached for him as he drew wearing thick gloves to stay warm. I haven't put my hearing aides in yet this morning so can't hear the story, but thanks for writing about it. I'll watch/hear more later again. ;-)

Heart is touched.
Sometimes we forget how good we have it...hum?

sukipoet said...

Andrea, yes I think this woman was extraordinary. This man was not, it turned out, mentally ill, as so many homeless are. It all turned out so beautifully for him and for the filmaker.

Teri, Hope we will all be painting well into our old age.

Lynn, to me the amazing thing is his spirit and love of art that lived through all his life's difficulties. Amazing.

Dianne said...

What a lovely story, Suki! Imagine being on the street, in the cold and still being passionate about drawing and painting. This old man must have been very rich in spirit.

Kim said...

Suki, what a precious, loving story. I am kind of like Andrea and wish I had the courage to do that. It does remind me, though of how I need to do more and be more aware. People are so good, so very good. I am also reminded of the man in San Diego who lost his entire family in that plane crash, yet felt no ill towards the pilot who safely ejected and felt concern for his emotional state. People are so good at their core.

Thank you so much, Dear Suki, for reminding us of all that is truly important.

Love,

Kim

CHEWY said...

I hope I can catch the full version of this short movie on PBS.

~Babs said...

And we complain,,,,,
SHAME on us!

Jude said...

Thank you for that Suki, very moving. Do you know how I can see the whole version?

Teri said...

The word Cats in the title drew me in, so glad I stopped to watch.If I'm too late to catch the PBS presentation, I am glad I found it here on your Blog.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, Thank you for this story...I will watch for the entire film on PBS. Hard to believe being homeless at 80 years old. Perfect that she extended herself to him, so perfect. thank you

willow said...

Very inspiring. Thank you, Suki!

m. heart said...

suki, i watched this movie during the summer and it was just incredible — one of the most moving stories i've ever seen. talk about people's lives being changed by what began as a simple encounter on the street...

thank you for reminding me of it!

it is available via netflix if anyone wants to see the whole thing!

sukipoet said...

Dianne, he certainly was rich in spirit. I love both his drawings and the things he says in the film. And he sings too.

Kim, I was so moved by watching the movie. I cried at the end when....well I wont reveal the story. I just had to share it.

Chewy, I think maybe PBS already broadcast it but as M. Heart says you can get it from Netflix as a DVD. That's where i got mine. Or maybe even in Massachusetts the library might have a copy.

Babs, so true. This man made the street his art studio and brought pleasure to those who passed by.

Jude, can you get DVDs there? netflix has it here. It is well worth seeking out. It will touch your heart and it shows the power of healing that can occur.

Thanks Teri. It is very moving. I think PBS version has been done and gone though.

blue Sky Dreaming, I kind of wonder if the fact that he was so obsessed with his art is what kept him sane those years he spent on the street. At one time he had a good job as chauffeur to a rich gentleman and so he lived in a posh Park Avenue place but then the gentleman died.

Willow, thanks.

M. Heart I did kind of wonder if you might have seen this and thought of you while I watched it. The filmmaker was a pretty incredible person too, to do all that searching and finding for Jimmy who was also incredible.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Just wanted to let you know I came to see your blog but havent had time to look at the video. I will tomorrow. Been a bit out of it today.

Annie said...

This looks great. I am putting it on my film list. Thanks for sharing. XOXO

Cestandrea said...

Suki, I'm back, to think a little more about this. Once they brought something on the news in TV, about a year ago: a young student had invited a "bum" (I say bum because he really was in a sorry mental and physical state) into her tiny student's flat, she let HIM live there for months, I don't know where she stayed during this time, but she looked after the man too, made arrangements for him with social services etc, so that the man stopped drinking and tried to live a decent life.
I'm in awe when I hear and see such things and find myself more than a bit cowardish not to do such a thing too.

studio lolo said...

He clearly shows the passion an artist feels deeply when nothing will stop us from creating. It's like breathing to so many of us. I'm looking forward to finding the full version of the film. Thank you for posting this!

There's an award for you at my place by the way :)

Kim said...

Suki, I am eager to find this DVD. I know I will cry, but I also know I will love what I see. Thank you again for this introduction to this movie which moved you so much.

I am thinking of you a lot today.

Love,

Kim

bindu said...

How absolutely incredible! Thanks for this post. I'll look for this film. How easily we drive past people and judge them from the outside. Amazing.

Dianne said...

Dear Suki, just wondering how you are. We are all thinking about you and sending hugs from far flung places. We might just seem like a whole lot of "words" but we do care about you.
Love Dianne x x

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Suki, I finally got around to watching the Video you posted. Thought it would be longer. Wish it were longer. What an amazing artist.
I hope you are doing ok. missing your blog. But then I am taking some time off too. Since it is a stormy day I am going to see about doing something Artistic today.
Be Well. Sending Hugs your way.
Cris

studio lolo said...

How are you faring in the ice storm? I just spoke with my relatives in N. Conway and they said it's a nightmare.

Be safe and warm :)

marianne said...

Oh wow what an interesting movie this seems.
I really want to see this one.
Here in my town we don´t have any homeless people (I know they are in the big cities here) I only see them abroad. I know behind everyone is a story.......
Thanks for sharing this. Hope to find the DVD someday!
Have a nice sunday!
hug>M<

m. heart said...

i have a feeling you may be coated in ice in there?

sukipoet said...

Hello everyone. I am back at last. With no electricity for TWO days, there was also no internet.

Annie, this movie will make you cry and give you joy, I am willing to bet.

Andrea, thanks for returning with that story. Truly incredible isnt it? How kind people are. I dont think I would be able to do this either. But i am so moved by those who can and do.

thanks Studio lolo. I really think you will feel wonderful about human beings after watching this movie. I will check out the award pronto. Thank you.

Kim, I do think you will cry. Thank goodness, it brought out tears in me. I have such a hard time crying but this moving did it.

sukipoet said...

bindu, thanks for stopping by. It is true that when we drive by people we cannot truly see them as we can when we stop and look and see into their eyes. The filmaker of course saw Jimmie often before she made this gesture during 9/ll chaos and so I feel she had a sense of who he was beneath the exterior "homeless."

Dianne, but words are so important and meaningful. I had all your lovely words to keep me warm when the heat was out and I sat in the dark of the evening. They are blessings.

sukipoet said...

Cris, glad you got a chance to view the video. I thought you might like his work. I am only involuntarily taking time off from blogging and am so glad to have the electricity back. Hope you have a good respite this weekend.

Laurel, thanks for your concern. There are still many without electricity I guess and may be so for several more days. So hard in this very cold weather. Hope your relatives are faring well.

Marianne, that is interesting that you rarely see homeless people. Is that in all of the Netherlands? I dont see homeless folks that often up here, maybe because it is too cold of a place to be homeless in. IE if they can they move down to a warmer clime. However I imagine in the larger NH towns there are homeless folks.

m. Heart you are so right and it still coats some of the ground and trees today. Beautiful of course, but deadly on the electricity transformers and downed branches.