Friday, July 27th, 2012

Al Wei Wei : Never Sorry


I got totally swept away with this stunning uplifting movie about the genius who is the celebrated Chinese artist and political activist. Filmmaker Alison Klayman’s debut feature documentary chronicled his life for 3 years starting with his role as a Consultant to Herzog the architects as they constructed the ‘Birds Nest’ Olympic Stadium, and then he immediately infuriated the Government when he became the first notable person to publicly denounce their policy of clearing swathes of the old city to make Beijing look pristine for the outside world for the duration of the Games.
He came to even greater prominence as an activist when he took it upon himself to highlight the real depth of the tragedy caused by the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 when shoddy school buildings collapsed killing all the students trapped inside. When the Government’s propaganda machine clamped down on any information being circulated Wei Wei ‘twittered’ and got a whole gang of volunteers to come forward and they stealthily managed to gather all the names and details of every single school kid who lost their lives, and then he published the long list as a work of art on the first anniversary of the disaster. 
aiweiweineversorryThis transposed into one of Wei Wei’s most famous art installations when he plastered the whole front of the Haus der Kunst in Munich with 9000 school backpacks that spelt out in Chinese characters the message ‘She lived happily in this world for seven years’ a quote from one of the grieving parents. The name of that Exhibition was ‘So Sorry’ from which they took the title of this film. This profile also covered the installation of ‘Sunflower Seeds’ which used 100 million hand-painted porcelain seeds to ever  the entire vast floor of the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in October 2010.
As a man, Ai Wei Wei comes across as a gentle giant : generous, articulate, funny, with endless compassion for the rights of his fellow countrymen.  Despite his denials he is extraordinary brave and totally fearless even though he almost died from an injury caused by an unprovoked beating from the Police.  On the April 3rd 2011 the inevitable happened and he ‘disappeared’ and the Authorities denied knowing of his whereabouts or even if he was still alive. Both the political and art international communities protested loud and clear with influential voices as important as the US Secretary of State lobbying China, and then suddenly, without notice Wei Wei was released on Bail in June.
There is so much to admire about this man who’s art and life enriches so many, and yet we all must fear that maybe next time he ‘disappears’ that he may never ever return.  
A totally unmissable movie.



Posted by queerguru  at  19:21


Genres:  documentary

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