In 2009, Tan Zuoren, an environmentalist conducting independent “citizen investigation” into the death tolls of the Sichuan Earthquake, was sentenced to five years in prison for inciting subversion of state power. Before the trial was opened in Chengdu, Ai Weiwei, a renowned artist who was leading a similar “citizen investigation” in Beijing, arrived in Chengdu to support the Tan Zuoren case as a witness. On the night before the trial, however, a group of people who claimed to be police broke into Ai’s hotel room and held Ai and his assistants captive for the next 11 hours, preventing them from appearing at court. Meanwhile, Liu Yanping, Ai’s assistant, was taken away to an unknown location. Disturbing the Peace documents Ai Weiwei and two human rights lawyers’ numerous rounds of confrontations and negotiations with the police. Through these intense, absurd, and humorous interactions, Ai probes into the logic, organization, and rhetoric of policing in today’s China and works out the possibilities of resistance and agitation. —Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
The multi-talented AI Weiwei (Beijing, 1957) headed up several avant-garde art movements in China. After living in New York for ten years, he returned to China in 1993. Art Review magazine placed Ai Weiwei at the top of their list of the world’s most influential contemporary artists. Ai was arrested in the Spring of 2011, the official charges being tax evasion. He is currently under house arrest in his Beijjing home. —IFFR
ah, the arrogance of that police jerk is unbelievable, makes me go up on the wall. commie school proves to be unbeatable.
Ai Weiwei's confrontational attitude and filmmaking methods have prompted comparisons with Michael Moore (his burgeoning celebrity status and overall appearance have likely played a role as well), but it could easily be argued that Ai's polemics are not merely ad hominem attacks, something Moore has often been accused of, and that they are actually concentrated and well-reasoned. Also, unlike Moore, Ai doesn't seem very interested in playing to the gallery. But then, given the bureaucratic quagmire of Kafkaesque proportions that forms this film's centerpiece, he doesn't have to.