Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We return to Ai Weiwei after his detention by Chinese authorities. After an initial silence, truths bubble to the surface as a true rebel emerges in all his glory.
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