Just released today is the brand new official trailer for AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, the Sundance Jury Prize-winning portrait of the artist-activist from filmmaker Alison Klayman.
Frequently referred to as “the most powerful artist in the world,” Ai Weiwei is China’s most celebrated contemporary artist, and also its most outspoken domestic critic. The film follows Ai as he struggles to improve the situation of human rights and freedom of expression in his homeland, while offering a thoughtful exploration of the potential of art to shake up the status quo.
Though he had been a working artist for years, Ai rose to international prominence in 2008 after helping design Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium and then publicly denouncing the Games as party propaganda. Since then, his critiques of China’s repressive regime have ranged from playful photographs of his raised middle finger in front of Tiananmen Square to his memorable backpack memorial to commemorate the more than 5,000 schoolchildren who died in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
In April 2011, when Ai disappeared into police custody for three months, his story attracted the eyes of the art world, who denounced his arrest, while praising the artist for continuing to seek new ways to work and tell stories against a backdrop of strict censorship.
First-time director Klayman gained unprecedented access to the charismatic artist, as well as his family and others close to him, while working as a journalist in Beijing. In the years she filmed (beginning in 2008), government authorities shut down Ai’s blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention. Klayman’s intent is neither political nor sensational. Instead, her goal is to give people a chance to spend time with Ai, listen to his voice and his opinions, see his flaws, and experience the conditions of his life.
Ai Weiwei is supposed to be released from government imposed heavy surveillance on June 22nd. AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY will be released in theaters on July 27th. Check out the trailer below: