Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
A fascinating portrait of a modern artist and activist trying to make a difference within China's repressive political system.
The film's recurring theme is of an artist on a perpetual hunt for transparency, in his country and abroad.
A movie that somehow mixes apprehension for Ai with a feeling of warmth and, certainly, fun.
Affable and unpretentious, Ai comes across as a cagey operator whose candor is very appealing.
To say Ai Weiwei is an interesting character is an understatement. He is an unconventional social activist and a thorn in the side of the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party.
Audience Reviews for Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Captivating documentary about a social activist of the people. It reveals his forthright manner that dumbfounds most Chinese, and his comic moments of "countering hooliganism with hooliganism"; also reveals that some of his art I think is bullshit and that he suffered from the same marital weaknesses that plagued other political leaders from Gandhi to Mandela to Clinton.
Most of all, through interviews with his peers, volunteer employees and fans, the director has shown how much hope he has brought to many Chinese people -- how closely people look to him as a barometer for how far one can push the Communist Party for accountability. His defense of choice appears to be carrying a camera-phone and using it everywhere, reminding me of another documentary "Five Broken Cameras" and probably the same strategy used by many other intrepid justice-seekers today.
PS: I was proud to see a Change.org petition in here!
Documentary about Ai Weiwei, a Chinese conceptual artist whose anti-establishment views (and specifically his quest to uncover the names of Sichuan earthquake victims, considered a state secret) lead him into conflict with the government. Interest flags a little bit when the doc discusses Weiwei's art and personal life rather than his political activism, but it is a peek at China's troubled human rights record and with an important and inspiring message about standing up to bullies.
"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" is an insightful, engaging and inspiring documentary about the activist and famed artist. That having been said, I am sure there are some people who might find it strange that I use the word inspiring for an artist who makes his art from smashing antique vases and pointing his middle finger at landmarks, especially Tiananmen Square.(By the way, does anybody know if there are any photos of his middle finger in front of Yankee Stadium?) I think both are symbolic of how nothing is sacred, especially the Chinese government who he is in a running battle with to gain transparency into the inner workings of its bureaucracy. After they shut down his blog, he went on Twitter and distributed his documentaries for free over the internet. His style is definitely confrontational, as somebody says he reminds him of a hooligan, but in a good way.(As Ani DiFranco once sang, being nice is overrated.) Remember, we are all hooligans, right now.
Ai Weiwei's activism hit a critical point when he criticized the treatment of the poor during the 2008 Olympics and the response to the Sichuan earthquake which killed several thousand children in faulty construction that has been compared to tofu. As New Yorker magazine correspondent Evan Osnos points out, Ai Weiwei was initially inspired politically by the Iran Contra hearings when he was living in the United States that sought to hold a government responsible but did not work as well as some of us would have liked. So, instead of the fortune his son would inherit, he will have something much more precious to leave him.
Now, if I can only figure out if the cat opening the door is supposed to be a metaphor or just darn cute.
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