Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

In this captivating documentary (2013), Danish director Andreas Johnsen depicts the year of probation served by dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose vehement critiques of the Chinese government landed him in jail. (He was charged with tax evasion, but Alison Klayman’s 2012 film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry explains the justice system’s ulterior motives.) Ai granted Johnsen significant access to his personal and professional lives following his release, including his tender interactions with his young son, and the film’s intimate nature recalls the verite style of Ai’s own video work. Chief among the film’s many sharply observed moments is a conversation between the artist and his mother: “If this was 1957, they would have killed you already,” she says, the reality of which creeps into Ai’s normally stoic expression. In English and subtitled Mandarin.