Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air

New Yorker Antoine Yates loves animals. He loves them so unconditionally that he shared his apartment in Harlem with Ming and Ali, a full-grown Bengal tiger and an alligator respectively. In 2003 their solace was disrupted when the trio’s living arrangement caught the attention of city officials. Their cover was blown when Ming bit into Antoine and nearly killed him. The case sparked worldwide laughs and dismay, and for a brief while made Antoine Yates a household name in the US.

Philip Warnell’s debut feature focuses on the relationship between Antoine and Ming. It presents a charismatic man recalling his short stint in the spotlight ten years ago with obvious pride. The film mixes documentary form and video art. At times it works like a surrealistic nature documentary about how an unnatural habitat degenerates a 440-pound predator into a domestic feline. It’s like a satirical cat video that compels us to reflect on the relationship between humans and animals.

Text: Aleksi Vauhkonen / Translation: Tapio Reinekoski

Language: English
No subtitles

  • Director: Phillip Warnell
  • Country: UK, Belgium, USA
  • Year: 2014
  • Length: 71 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: David Raedeker
  • Editing: Phillip Warnell & Chiara Armentano
  • Audio: Emmet O'Donnell
  • Music: Hildur Gudnadottir
  • Production: Phillip Warnell / Big Other Films


  • Cinema Artis hall 2: Saturday 31.01 - 20:30