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Film Description

Film Description


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Recently named the most powerful player in the contemporary art world by ArtReview and runner-up for Time Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei first came to wide international attention when he was appointed as artistic design consultant for the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ Bird’s Nest stadium, and soon became equally as famous for his courageous social activism on behalf of democracy and human rights as for his artwork. Winner of a Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the opening night film at the 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is an intimate and revealing portrait of this dissident for the digital age who fearlessly blurs the boundaries of art and politics.

First-time director Alison Klayman was first introduced to Ai Weiwei while working as a freelance journalist in China, and participated in the making of a video documenting an exhibition of his early photographs. While filming the preparations for two major surveys of Ai’s work at the Tate Modern in
London and Haus der Kunst in Munich, Klayman found herself in the right place
at the right time as the artist’s outspoken criticism of the communist Chinese government brought him both global attention and intense scrutiny from Chinese authorities. When Ai set about investigating the government’s criminal negligence in the faulty “tofu construction” of public school buildings — which resulted in the deaths of over 5,300 children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake — the official harassment quickly picked up: security cameras appeared in Ai’s home studio driveway, his comings and goings were closely monitored, his blog was shut down, his studio bulldozed, and his increasingly violent physical clashes with police ultimately led to a three-month secret detention in 2010.

Offered unprecedented access to Ai as he pursues his art and activism, Klayman
captures both his bold acts of public protest as well as intimate moments in his home and studio. In light of the recent, headline-grabbing escape of Ai’s fellow activist Chen Guangcheng from the PRC, this timely film is not only an essential portrait of a contemporary icon, but a revealing look behind the curtain of a China whose triumphal self-portrait at the Olympics belies an ongoing reality of authoritarianism, persecution and state-sanctioned violence.


"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry accomplishes what the best works of this sort do: Take a great, compelling, widely known story and make it deeper, fuller and better." —Murray Whyte , Toronto Star

Director: Alison Klayman
Cast: Ai Weiwei, Danqing Chen, Ying Gao, and Changwei Gu
Year: 2012
Runtime: 91 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English, Mandarin (English subtitles)
Distributor: Mongrel Media

Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR


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