Short Takes: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"

| Wed Jul. 25, 2012 5:00 AM EDT

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

SUNDANCE SELECTS

91 minutes

Knowing what fate has in store for the Chinese dissident artist gives Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry a foreboding air. At the outset, we see Ai, revered for his work at the Beijing Olympics, fearlessly tallying kids killed in the Sichuan earthquake thanks to shoddily built schools. He sues a cop who hits him on the head, documenting each bureaucratic step with cameras and tweets. And when the authorities demolish his studio, he holds a public "celebration." With each act, you wonder if this will be the one that lands him in solitary, where he will spend 81 days for "tax evasion." Lockup costs Ai some of his swagger, but the deluge of donations to pay his fine speaks to his inspirational clout and social-media mojo.

This review originally appeared in our July/August issue of Mother Jones. 

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