Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

Director: Andreas Johnsen
Year Released: 2013
Rating: 2.5

Chinese artist Ai - subject of 2012's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry - has his (on-going) battle with the Chinese government covered in this intimate (if rough around the edges) documentary ... and how he decides to turn his imprisonment (for "tax evasion" ... a made up charge) into a work of art ("S.A.C.R.E.D."). While it isn't as all-encompassing a peek into his life and past as Never Sorry - which was more of an investigation into his actual work and personal history - this is still a haunting portrait of life in Communist China and how the authorities will work any angle to threaten a dissident: they follow Ai, they bug his phone (and Internet) and they place him on house arrest where he has to 'check in' via phone call. Ai's frustration with the surveillance is more than evident, but his inner prankster comes through (watch him sleep online!) ... to date, he still chooses to live and create in his home country, where he continues to produce beautiful works and uses social media to spread his message about freedom and progress (... instead of memes and cat pictures). All art is political, remember...?