Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Watch Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

"Can an artist change China?"
  • R
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 7.5  (4,514)
  • 81

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a documentary film directed by Alison Klayman that explores the life and work of the controversial Chinese artist, activist, and dissident Ai Weiwei. The film provides an intimate portrait of Weiwei, following him from his early days in New York City to his return to China where he becomes an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.

The documentary captures Ai Weiwei's journey as an artist, starting from his early collaborations with artists in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s, where he honed his creative craft and began to push the boundaries of Chinese art. Throughout the film, we see how Ai Weiwei's art evolved from his early paintings and sculptures to his more politically charged pieces, such as his iconic installation of 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern in London.

The film also touches on Ai Weiwei's activism and his unyielding commitment to pushing for human rights and freedom of expression in China. The documentary traces his work as a social media activist, using Twitter and Instagram to disseminate information and mobilize citizens in the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Ai Weiwei also played a pivotal role in exposing the Chinese government's cover-up of the death toll in the disaster, through his work on the installation "Remembering," which documented the names of the children who died in the earthquake.

The documentary provides insight into Ai Weiwei's personal life and relationships as well, including his strained relationship with his father, Ai Qing, a well-known Chinese poet who was exiled during the Cultural Revolution. The film also highlights Weiwei’s time in New York City where he was a fixture in the art scene and lived with his son, Ai Lao. Lao Ai, a central figure in the film, is presented in the film as Weiwei's assistant and friend, but is later revealed to be a father of one of Weiwei’s children born out of wedlock. The revelation and the subsequent fallout is one of the pivotal moments of the film.

Throughout the documentary, Klayman captures the many facets of Ai Weiwei, portraying him as both an artist and activist, but also as a father, a son, and a friend. Despite his reputation as a troublemaker in China, Ai Weiwei is shown to be a deeply empathetic individual, one who is profoundly connected to the people for whom he advocates. This humanizing portrayal of Ai Weiwei is a notable feature of the film, positioning him as a complex figure, rather than a one-dimensional caricature.

The film also provides insight into the wider political landscape in China, and the toll that outspoken activism can take on an individual. Ai Weiwei's confrontations with the Chinese government, including his detention in 2011, are portrayed as a David and Goliath struggle, with Weiwei as the underdog and the government as the oppressive force. The careful interweaving of archival footage, interviews with Weiwei and his family, as well as his detractors, create a complex and thoughtful view of the political landscape in China.

Overall, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that explores the intersection between art, activism, and individual freedom in China. Klayman's deft direction and sensitive portrayal of Ai Weiwei offer a glimpse into the life of one of the most 'dangerous' dissidents in modern China, while highlighting the ongoing struggle for democracy and human rights that intersects so powerfully with art and culture. For anyone interested in the political and cultural landscape of modern China, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is an essential watch.

In conclusion, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry provides a unique insight into the life, artistic journey, activism, and personal relationships of the enigmatic Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei. The film presents a well-rounded view of the artist, portraying him as both a passionate defender of human rights and as a complicated and deeply empathetic individual. The documentary is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between artistic expression and political freedom, and the personal toll that outspoken activism can take.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 81.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Where to Watch Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (4,514)
  • Metascore