Ai Weiwei speaks out on Klayman’s new film

Ai Weiwei speaks out on Klayman’s new film

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ai Weiwei speaks out on Klayman’s new film

Alison Klayman’s ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ has been released. It’s a project born from a lucky break, after Klayman was hired to make a promotional film for a show.

According to Britain based Art Newspaper, Alison Klayman’s “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” goes on general release in on 27 July in the US, having played the festival circuit to great acclaim. It’s a project born from a lucky break, after Klayman was hired to make a promotional film for a gallery show of the artist’s work in Beijing in 2008. “I’d say: ‘Do you mind if we keep filming?’” she told The Art Newspaper last year. “Eventually, he introduced me to someone [saying]: ‘This is Alison; she’s been around forever… filming me,’ so then I knew I was in.

”The film was in post-production when Ai was arrested by the Chinese police in April 2011, meaning a structural rethink and a lot of extra publicity. The backstory is efficiently told, although it’s familiar enough, especially given that Ai is not backward in coming forward when talking about himself. It is well known that his father was a poet who was exiled during the late 1950s, that Ai studied at the Beijing Film Academy with the director Zhang Yimou.

According to Art Newspaper, the urgency in Klayman’s film is not just in Ai’s work, as striking and hard-hitting as it can be, or in his persona, as engaging as it is: it’s in the depiction of his anger with a political system that denies truths and quashes dissent.

Again and again, he returns to projects that draw attention to the children who died in collapsing schools after the earthquake in Sichuan in 2008, including the painstaking efforts made by his team to ascertain as many of the children’s names as possible and the construction of Remembering, 2009, an installation made using children’s backpacks.

Ai confronts a policeman who he thinks beat him, causing a life-threatening brain injury, when he was arrested in 2009, while supporting another campaigner on behalf of the families of the children who died. This is a good enough film about Ai the individual, but as an adjunct to and extension of his highlighting of the iniquities of the Chinese regime, it’s a powerful piece of international propaganda.
Last year, when Ai was released on bail after more than two months in detention, he was reticent in
front of the cameras, citing a stipulation that he must not say very much to the media. Klayman’s film means his voice is still being widely heard. While China makes little, if any, pretence to democracy, Russia does operate under a democratic system, though many would argue that it’s barely functional, with an alliance of the super-wealthy elite ensuring that power remains in the hands of the few.