Alison Klayman has created an incredible look into the life of an important artist and the power of expression in the digital age in her film Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. The film follows Ai Wei Wei over a period of three years, which goes into his work as an artist, a social critic on Chinese government, its policies and his interactions with people all over the world. From having an exhibition at the Tate Modern one minute and then being harassed by Chengdu police officers the next, Klayman’s film manages to capture a captivating look into the world of Ai Wei Wei. We learn about his upbringing, his exploits on Twitter and the ability that he takes upon himself to be political in just about every facet of his everyday life. Made up of some fantastic interviews with people from all over the world and only 90 minutes long, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry is an absolute must see for an insight to this important artist.
The film does an incredible job at showcasing and presenting his works of art that have been presented in galleries all over the world. Immediately, we learn that the man is a jack of all trades, using his skills in photography, design, filmmaking and plenty of other means of expression to always present radical ideas. The herculean task of assembling all the names of the children involved in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake is a perfect example on how Ai manages to consistently use his abilities to promote growth and democracy in society, no matter what the consequences are. We see how his the life of his father, poet Ai Qing, has also shaped him into being the man that he is today and views against Chinese censorship. The film also dives into his personal life and the effects that his work has on him. When we see in an intimate exchange between him and his mother, we see that just as he is difficult with authority, he can be difficult with some of the people he is closest to as well. Even though he has lived through plenty of hardship, Klayman portrays a man that seems genuinely optimistic about the world and wishes to truly create change.
The Blu-Ray from MPI Home Video comes with a few deleted scenes, extended interviews with some of Wei Wei’s family and colleagues and a commentary from the many of the filmmakers included in the making of the film. As a film that is a portrait of an important figure of our time and generation, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry is one of the best documentaries made and deserves to be seen by as many people possible. Highly Recommended!