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Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly
A documentary by Cheryl Haines

78 minutes, color, 2019

Watch on Apple TV




 
   

Synopsis

Human rights become profoundly personal when Ai Weiwei, China's most famous artist, transforms Alcatraz Island prison into an astonishing expression of socially-engaged art focused on the plight of the unjustly incarcerated. At the core of the installation, called @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, were portraits of prisoners of conscience coupled with the opportunity to write letters of solidarity to the imprisoned.

In her impassioned and powerful film, director Cheryl Haines captures this monumental exhibition from conception to fruition, and as well visits current and former prisoners, including American whistleblower Chelsea Manning, to learn how these letters were vital to their survival.


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Reviews

"Even for those familiar with Ai and his work, the film’s offerings of fascinating insights into his personal life and an exploration of the stakes of personal freedom make it a worthy viewing experience...it shines." - Lovia Gyarkye, The New York Times

"One of the great films of the year! A near-perfect look at Weiwei’s art installation that took place on Alcatraz Island. Truly magical...a must-see!" - Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

"Powerful! A moving cinematic experience and so wide-ranging a project that it is likely to appeal even to those who might not think they are interested in the famed artist." - Barbara Pollack, ArtNews

"From the meditative, thoughtful pace of the studio footage and interviews, the film builds toward the completed installation which is then explored and explained with a lot of care and detail. It’s all very elegant and informative, and its on-site views are experiential and evocative. The creative dialogs throughout the film are insightful, the footage is beautiful, the biography deepens our understanding of Ai Weiwei’s process, material choices, and intentions for the work; but it’s this last part, the interviews with freed prisoners of conscience and/or with their families, that really touch the heart. By the time you get to Ai Weiwei’s sitdown with Chelsea Manning, the film has become a wholly divergent experience from where it began - an experience that if possible is even more full of persistent hope and meaningful emotion than even the landmark exhibition itself." - Shana Nys Dambrot, LA Weekly


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