Precisely because it aims to capture the insurmountable, Flow is an essential visual document. It imagines something that in text remains unfathomable, therefore alien and unreal. Because this grasp is so large it is intimately removed, the moments of human connection few and far. It might be viewed with Cameraperson for sense of contrast; its humanitarian voices are ineffectual to these images.
A lot of great movies have been made about global migration. Despite having a bigger budget and better footage, this is unfortunately not one of them. Both movie and subject demand better editing. Seriously, I felt like I was at a test screening and someone forgot to give me a feedback card. The movie's dull reliance on talking heads explanation also distrusts and undercuts the mesmerising truth of its images.
Fort et nécessaire, le documentaire utilise la sensibilité de l'artiste pour mettre sur la table toutes les cartes de ce casse-tête mondial en faisant appel à ce que nous possédons de plus précieux pour le résoudre, notre humanité. Chronique complète sur Citazine : http://www.citazine.fr/article/human-flow-flux-sentimental
A difficult film to give a star rating to. Humane, though occasionally over poetic. My watching of 'Human Flow' happened to fall upon the same day as the death of Ursula Le Guin. 'Human Flow' illustrates the urgency of her wisest proclamations: "No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think." (The Dispossessed, p.159)
Obviously great, however not as good as expected. Ai Weiwei is not a filmmaker, he is a fine artist. That's why the film is all over the place and completely unengaging. What bothers me about this film is Weiwei's ego. He has to focus in several sections on how "humanitarian" he is, rather then focusing on the subjects of his documentary.
A global outlook at the refugee crisis with more focus on a social issue than the eyes of a particular person that creates an emotional insight into many random lives and allows for many voices to be heard on where human existence stands when it concerns the moral ambivalence of geopolitics and the heart-wrenching effect it has on those in need of help.
Ai Weiei is obviously an art world superhero, and one I have always found uncomfortably convenient for the Western episteme. Aside from being an art world superhero he is a humanitarian. Actually, the marriage of the artistic and the humanitarian is essentially the core of all he does. HUMAN FLOW strikes me as far more the work of a humanitarian than of an artist (not that it is lacking in incredibly strong images).
It’s like watching a post-apocalyptic film except the credits never roll for these refugees. It’s incredibly moving! Visually stunning! It shows the best and the worst of humanity and changes the way you think about privilege, racial stereotypes, pre-existing ideas about refugees, political and religious ideologies as well as post-war rehabilitation.
With a topic as endlessly complex as refugees, did the film need to bring up the question of artistic ego? I'd assert "no"--but Ai Weiwei's obtrusive self-insertions don't diminish the film's message: the sheer scope of a problem that stems from a global reliance on an outmoded governance model dictated by the nation-state.