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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Directed by Alison Klayman

> > Dec 12 2012

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry - Directed by Alison Klayman
By Daniel PrattAs one of the world's foremost contemporary artists, China's Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention for his provocative sculptures and art installations, as well as his political activism in the fight against the oppressive Chinese communist regime. A staunch defender of free speech in a country that strives to silence its citizens at any cost, the artist-cum-activist was followed by director Alison Klayman over a three-year span, which resulted in feature-length documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Throughout, Klayman chronicles Weiwei's pinnacle achievement — being praised for his design of the "Bird's Nest" stadium, the central fixture of the 2008 Beijing Olympics — as well as the subsequent criticism of the Chinese government for relocating migrants out of the city to give foreigners the impression that things in Beijing were pristine. By tracing Weiwei's roots, exploring his familial struggles, as well as his education and thirst for artistic knowledge, Klayman successfully paints a full picture of this larger-than-life man, affording viewers a unique look behind the headlines. The latter half of the film dives headfirst into Weiwei's activism, following Weiwei as he travels to Sichuan to speak out against the government's blatant cover-up of the many deaths that occurred after the 2008 earthquake, while his subsequent attack by police officials is caught on film and serves to underscore the corruption that runs rampant in this artist's country. While the documentary format used by Klayman is rather ordinary, it's the subject and his message that make it such a compelling viewing experience. Included on the DVD are additional interviews, as well as the usual director's commentary that most discs have these days. Fortunately, the DVD also contains numerous deleted scenes that supplement the film rather well and are compelling in their own right. There's even a scene where Weiwei buys hot dogs from a cart in NYC, which sounds ridiculous, but speaks to his past as an up-and-coming artist.
(Mongrel Media)
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