Ai Weiwei is known for many things—great architecture, subversive in-your-face art, and political activism. He has also called for greater transparency on the part of the Chinese state. Director Alison Klayman chronicles the complexities of Ai’s life for three years, beginning with his rise to public prominence via blog and Twitter after he questioned the deaths of more than 5,000 students in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The record continues through his widely publicized arrest in Beijing in April of 2011. As Ai prepares various works of art for major international exhibitions, his activism heats up, and his run-ins with China’s authorities become more and more frequent.
In this unprecedented look at Ai and those close to him, Klayman’s camera captures his forthrightness and unequivocal stance. She gives a larger picture of the artist as an individual, a symbol of China’s oppression, and a powerful voice against a country that still denies its citizens many basic freedoms. —Sundance Institute
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is Alison Klayman’s debut feature documentary, which she directed, produced, filmed, and coedited. She is a 2011 Sundance Documentary Fellow and one of Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” She has been a guest on The Colbert Report, as well as on CNN and NPR. Klayman lived in China from 2006 to 2010, working as a freelance journalist. She speaks Mandarin and Hebrew and graduated from Brown University in 2006. —Sundance Institute
Now I wouldn't call Ai Weiwei a charlatan, but watching this movie with someone who would prompted me to view the man, his work, and this film more cynically than I would have otherwise. Does Ai promote himself more than his art? Shouldn't the film tell us whether there have been any reconstruction efforts in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake and Weiwei's subsequent criticism of the collapsed "tofu-dregs" schools?
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