Sep. 05, 2012 - Issue #881: Sex 2012
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Following her subject's lead, Klayman quickly began amassing heavy coverage of Ai's many activities. Much of Never Sorry is about cameras shooting cameras shooting cameras, about the circuitry of surveillance in a modern country that still dreams of imposing state control over media and expression. The government set up an elaborate system of cameras outside of 258 Fake, Ai's vast Beijing studio, an act of comical redundancy given that Ai almost continuously narrates his own movements via Twitter: transparency is the dominant theme of Ai's later work, which is activism as much as, if not perhaps even more than, art.There are other aspects of Ai's life glimpsed in Never Sorry: his supernaturally acrobatic army of cats, his unusual family life (he has a son from a woman who is not his wife; all of them seem to live in relative harmony), and his pivotal time in New York in the 1980s, where he came of age as an artist. It all adds up to an unambiguously heroic portrait, yet, while Ai is a very big man, both physically and in terms of his will and persuasion, I never got the impression that he strong-armed Klayman for control of the film. He seems happy to have helped this budding documentarian find what her first feature-length film could be all on her own. And for whatever Never Sorry may lack, it is never less than galvanizing.
Opens Friday, September 7, 2012
Directed by: Alison Klayman
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