‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ – purely engrossing cinema
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Directed by Alison Klayman
Written by Alison Klayman
Some concepts in modern life can feel maudlin and totally appropriate at the same time. One such idea, one that deserves more importance among our young generation, is that a single person can make a difference in the world. No matter how corny this sounds, the idea is exemplified by the excellent new documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, profiling the lightning-rod artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he rails against the police-state environment in China and meets resistance at all sides.
Ai Weiwei, only a few years ago, was at a creative and commercial peak, having been commissioned by the Chinese government to help design the Bird’s Nest, the stadium that would serve as the centerpiece of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. But after bringing the stadium to life, Ai made inflammatory artwork against the Olympics and the government by literally giving the Bird’s Nest the finger. This set off a chain of events that led him on a crusade against police and the dictatorial Chinese government, all documented by the artist and by Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’s director, co-editor, and cinematographer, Alison Klayman. Klayman uses her unprecedented access into Ai’s life and methods to craft a taut, compelling, and infuriating story of activism in the face of impossible adversity.