Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations and increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government. 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 film continues as the artist prepares for various exhibitions, including Sunflower Seeds at London’s Tate Modern in which he filled the Turbine Hall with millions of painted porcelain seeds. When his activism heats up, his run-ins with China’s authorities become more and more frequent, leading to his arrest in Beijing in April 2011.
In this unprecedented look at Ai and those close to him, Klayman’s camera captures the artist’s forthrightness and unequivocal stance. In her first film, she is granted full access and provides an essential portrait of this one-of-a-kind, fearless personality.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance at the Sundance Film Festival. Thank you to IFC Films for this advance screening. 2012, DCP, 91 minutes.