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Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (2014)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 231

My Rating

Movie Info

After 81 days of solitary detention world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is put under house arrest. He suffers from sleeping disorder and memory loss, 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home, police agents follow his every move, and heavy restrictions from the Kafkaesque Chinese authorities weigh him down. Picking up where Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry left off, AI WEIWEI THE FAKE CASE is more explicitly political, reflecting Ai's battle against the gigantic lawsuit thrust upon


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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2)

If you want to provoke an artist, try to stifle him.

June 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Ai granted Johnsen significant access to his personal and professional lives following his release, including his tender interactions with his young son, and the film's intimate nature recalls the verite style of Ai's own video work.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Remarkably intimate and astute.

June 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Although expertly edited, Johnsen's film, whose soundtrack ends with Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," presents a less effective portrait of Ai than Klayman's does.

May 29, 2014 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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The film quietly and slowly reveals a man struggling internally to find the right response to the restrictions imposed on him and determining that to stop speaking out would itself be a kind of death.

May 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Johnsen intimately chronicles the fascinating push-pull of Ai's daily existence: the man he truly is now contrasted with the man he hopes to become once again.

May 16, 2014 Full Review Source:
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Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei is a lot of things: Artist, activist, father, son. What he's not, is dull. But you'd never know it judging by Andreas Johnsen's somnambulant take on his subject's Sisyphean fight for human rights.

July 4, 2014 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

While little more than an update on an ongoing dispute, The Fake Case is a welcome chance to catch up with the quirky artist's heroic struggle for freedom.

June 23, 2014 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Heartening chronicle of the further "crazy dreams" of an artist who doesn't intend to have freedom defined for him by the state.

June 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity

Ai comes across as highly intelligent, weary, extremely wary of outsiders but with a puckish sense of humor.

June 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Oregonian

The film is not terribly involving except to Ai's followers.

June 4, 2014 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

In The Fake Case, Danish filmmaker Andreas Johnsen connects with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei after his 81-day solitary confinement for subversion of state power, and deftly portrays a man untrammeled by his opponents.

May 15, 2014 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

An enlightening Danish documentary about one of the world's most famous and creative human rights activists.

May 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Intimate portrait of a stubborn artist. . .demonstrates the power of government control to inflict disruptive stress, the power of art to transform repression into optimism.

May 15, 2014 Full Review Source:

The Fake Case contextualizes Ai's struggle by positioning it in relation to his family history.

May 14, 2014 Full Review Source: indieWIRE

Audience Reviews for Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

A peek at the life of Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei as he sits under unofficial house arrest awaiting a verdict on (likely fabricated) charges of tax evasion. This is an important document of a man who refuses to be bullied (and there's no bigger bully in the world than the Chinese government), so it's unfortunate that much of this day-to-day footage is mundane and assembled in such a way that the drama of the situation gets lost.
July 23, 2014
Greg S

Super Reviewer

After he is released on bail and probation after being detained on charges of tax evasion, the dissident, renegade and gadly artist Ai Weiwei is told by his mother that if this had been happening in the 50's, the Chinese authorities would have simply had him shot. Instead, the authorities go for the death of a thousand cuts, removing his presence from the local interenet, as it is also remarked how much weight Ai Weiwei lost while in prison. But this different approach has less to do with how the Chinese government might have mellowed over the decades, than as to how the world has changed with almost everybody having a camera, thus making it that much harder for a government to disappear a promiment personality totally from view. Luckily, at least one of those cameras belongs to a camera crew which is where this documentary comes in, circumventing the rule against his giving interviews.

Otherwise, Ai Weiwei continues to not only make the work of the Chinese government public but also against their liking simple nudity to pornography which is not only the custom there, as he also puts out his rotund form to make his point. To his credit, he is less interested in power than in inspring others which is where a spectacular flight of paper airplanes comes into play. All the while, he maintains an apartment tantalizingly across the street from the American embassy where a parachute would definitely come in handy.
June 6, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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