Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)


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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the first feature-length film about the internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. In recent years, Ai has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations. From 2008 to 2010, Beijing-based journalist and filmmaker Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai Weiwei. Klayman documented Ai's artistic process in preparation for major museum exhibitions, his intimate exchanges with family members and his increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government. Klayman's detailed portrait of the artist provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures. -- (C) IFC

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Critic Reviews for Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (28)

A fascinating portrait of a modern artist and activist trying to make a difference within China's repressive political system.

Sep 7, 2012 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

The film's recurring theme is of an artist on a perpetual hunt for transparency, in his country and abroad.

Aug 16, 2012 | Rating: 3/4

A movie that somehow mixes apprehension for Ai with a feeling of warmth and, certainly, fun.

Aug 10, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Affable and unpretentious, Ai comes across as a cagey operator whose candor is very appealing.

Aug 9, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's likely to change the way you think about art and politics and the state of China today.

Aug 9, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Using archival footage dating back to Ai's adventures in the New York art world in his 20s, Klayman traces his evolution as a creator and as an activist.

Aug 9, 2012 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

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 petition in here!

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

A great documentary on a true brave soul..someone willing to shake the cage of the Chinese system and enduring the detentions and questioning by continuing to live in Beijing. Some questions remain a little uncovered however - how does a government critic wike Weiwei continue to be put in charge of important government projects? Just what the heck is that that home life really like?

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


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.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

"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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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