Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry review: Unblinking portrait of a rebellious and brave artist

Unblinking portrait of a rebellious and brave artist



09:44 GMT, 10 August 2012

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (15)
Verdict: Informative doc about a brave man

Brave: Ai Weiwei

Brave: Ai Weiwei

Were the title not already taken, this documentary could have easily been called Brave as well.

Capably, if unexcitingly, made by director Alison Klayman, it’s a film about China’s most famous dissident Ai Weiwei, the artist who designed the Birds’ Nest stadium for the Beijing Olympics four years ago — but spent three months of last year in a padded cell as detainee No 1,135.

He is portrayed as a sympathetic figure, with a mildly liberal agenda that preaches judicial independence, free speech and a load of stuff that would be considered uncontroversial outside China.

The revelation within the documentary is the extent to which the internet in general — and Twitter in particular — has rendered totalitarian oppression ineffectual merely by opening lines of communication.

The film begins with its most telling image: a cat that has taught itself how to open a door.

The metaphor is clear.

Ai Weiwei has opened the door, and it’s only a matter of time before millions — perhaps billions — follow him through it.