Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

"Excellent"

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Review


Strikingly well-assembled to tell an important, relevant, almost too-current story, this documentary holds our interest on several levels as it explores contemporary art, political activism and the situation for dissidents in China.

It also puts Ai's striking art in startling context.

Ai Weiwei is one of China's most famous artists, with major installations around the world. As a documentary crew follows him over a few years, he travels to London, Munich and New York, and is almost always in trouble back home in Beijing due to his outspoken comments about the Chinese government.

Sure enough, in 2011 he disappeared for three months, interrogated by officials who then charged him with tax evasion and told him he could no longer use Twitter, speak to the press or leave Beijing. Well, he has managed to do one of those.

At this point (October 2011) the film ends, leaving us wondering what happened next. But then, Ai is still in the headlines, challenging authority in startling ways: smashing a priceless antique vase to protest the destruction of history, designing Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Stadium then criticising how officials staged the Olympics, publicising 70,000 earthquake victims the government refused to acknowledge. Even his London exhibition of 100 million hand-painted sunflower seeds was a quiet protest about individuality. He describes himself as a chess player waiting for his opponent to make a move.

The film is rambling and somewhat easily distracted by long flashbacks and digressions. But it's also an observant fly-on-the-wall doc, cleverly narrated with on-screen graphics and extensive interviews with Ai and his family and friends, all of whom interject humour and energy into the film. Ai is predictably open and relaxed, and also matter-of-fact about the extraordinary twists and turns of his life, perhaps because his father was imprisoned as a dissident poet.

He calls his art social, not political, inspired by his years in New York as a student, witnessing free protest for the first time then watching the events of Tiananmen Square and the fall of Soviet Europe. "Once you experience freedom, it remains in your heart," he says, fully understanding the absurdity (and danger) of his situation without losing his optimism and curiosity. No wonder he inspires so many people.



Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 14th June 2012

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $181.1 thousand

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alison Klayman

Producer: Alison Klayman, Adam Schlesinger

Starring: Ai Weiwei as Himself, Dan-qing Chen as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.