Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry opened Friday, July 27, across the country. The acclaimed documentary — winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance for its “Spirit of Defiance” — offers an unprecedented look at Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous international artist and its most outspoken domestic critic, named by the UK’s prestigious ArtReview as “the contemporary art world’s most powerful player” and runner-up to TIME Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year.
A digital age dissident who powers through walls between art and activism, Ai Weiwei, through subversive art, architecture, and social media, continues to inspire globally and his prolific stride remains unbroken despite the repressive climate of strict censorship he lives and works under. Chinese authorities shut down his blog, bulldozed his studio and held him in secret detention for many months. First-time director Alison Klayman, who gained access to Ai Weiwei while working as a journalist in China, offers a nuanced, incisive portrait of both the man and contemporary China.
The Chinese Embassy made headlines last month when it demanded the film not be screened at the high-profile Sheffield International Film Festival in the UK, and withdrew their delegation and boycotted the festival when their demand was refused.
The film opened the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York last month and was featured recently in The New York Times’ Dissent as Art Project, and Film Subject, The Wall Street Journal’s Ai Weiwei Vouches for “Never Sorry” Film, NPR’s For Ai Weiwei, Politics and Arts Always Mix, The Boston Globe’s Ai Weiwei: Art and the Activist, The Huffington Post’s In Ai Weiwei, Alison Klayman Skillfully Highlights the Artist’s Defiant Charisma, Time Magazine’s Documenting the Dissent: A Q&A with Alison Klayman and The Los Angeles Times’ Documentary Shows Artist’s Boldness.