New to VOD this week: QUEEN MIMI
Yaniv Rokah’s portrait of a longterm homeless woman and her unlikely celebrity had its world premiere at Vail last year. Other screenings have included Sarasota, Haifa, Hot Springs Doc, San Francisco Doc, and the Bahamas.
For decades, Mimi Haist, now 90 years old, has been homeless, though the generosity of a Santa Monica laundromat owner has provided her with an unorthodox place to sleep each night, as well as an unofficial job. She’s a beloved fixture in the neighborhood, with her feisty attitude winning her ardent admirers over the years, including the occasional actor or actress. A friendship with comedian Zach Galifianakis, in particular, has been maintained since before his career blossomed, with Mimi accompanying him to red carpet events, and, ultimately, becoming the recipient of a more transformative gift. While Rokah delves a bit deeper into his subject’s history to try to ascertain how she ended up on the streets, this thread feels at odds with the lighter tone he uses up to this point – itself a somewhat odd choice given the serious topic of homelessness. The filmmaker is also too much of a presence in the film, lending it a rough and stretched thin feel, and suggesting the whole enterprise might have worked better in short form instead.