Review by Lucía Santiago Dantés.
Life is hard but no one knows better than Ai Weiwei. In some countries being a dissident is dangerous, but if you are an artist, political activist, critic and an internet celebrity then, it might be complicated. “Ai Weiwei Never Sorry” deals about the perils of being an artist and dissident in one of the most severe governments with zero tolerance for anyone against the establishment, also the one the most efficient for organizing witch hunts for those particular individuals.
What’s most interesting about Ai Weiwei is how he succeeds on pushing the boundaries between art and politics helped with digital media. Weiwei is provocative but at the same time dares to tell the truth in a very simple but effective way. Bef0re becoming famous for his twits, he was already an stablished artist in China, he helped design the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadium also known as the bird’s nest; and as an artist Ai Weiwei proved to be very prolific, his work includes installations, sculpture, photography, film, curating and architecture.
He became notorious after investigating the government corruption after the Sichuan earthquake that made collapse schools killing thousands of children back in 2008. Aiweiwei started to investigate not only the government policies but the victims on a project called “The citizen’s investigation”. He looked for children’s names killed by the quake and finally in 2009 he published that list on his blog. China’s government inmediatly shot down his blog after the list was published. Starting the witch hunt for Ai Weiwei. After that incident it all goes from bad to worse. He was severely beaten up by the police. Months later he had a brain hemorrhage caused by the incident with the police. He had brain surgery. Later on, his new studio was demolished by the local authorities and put in jail by supposedly tax evasion.
Ai Weiwei managed to stay in touch with thousands of people through his blog and twitter account. Ai Weiwei also is famous for a series of photographs were he is giving the finger to several locations in the world as an expression of his rejection of authority.
“Ai Weiwei Never Sorry” documentary has been playing around all year long in the festival circuits. It premiered at Sundance 2012 winning the Special Jury Price, following by the premier in Europe at the Berlin International Film Festival, opening the Hotdocs Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.