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Cornell Cinema

A Cinematic Exploration of the Lingering Wounds of an Internment Experience and the Healing Power of Art

Jimmy Mirikitani, subject of the documentary The Cats of Mirikitani screening at Cornell Cinema in Willard Straight Theatre

At Cornell Cinema in Willard Straight Theatre on central campus, join Cornell Cinema director Mary Fessenden for a screening of The Cats of Mirikitani, a moving documentary about an 80-year-old Japanese-American street artist in New York City in 2001. Born in Sacramento in 1920, raised in Hiroshima and interned in an American camp after he returned to the United States, Jimmy Mirikitani relives his painful past with vivid paintings of internment huts and the wide-eyed cats that comforted another child who died while interned. When Jimmy’s health is threatened by the dust clouds of 9/11, the filmmaker moves him into her home, and what began as an interesting portrait of an outsider artist becomes a fascinating story of injustice and endurance.

Artwork by Jimmy Mirikitani

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Mary Fessenden is the director of Cornell Cinema, the film exhibition program at Cornell University, which screens close to 200 films each year, including classic Hollywood and foreign, documentaries, recent and cult favorites, contemporary world cinema and more. They also host live music/film events as well as visiting filmmakers. Cornell Cinema’s primary screening space, Willard Straight Theatre, is a beautiful 1920s theatre with balcony, wall murals and a concession stand. Attendees are invited to stick around following the main presentation to see several coming attraction trailers for films screening this fall!

Willard Straight Theatre