Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case
25 November 2013Ai Weiwei has always chosen the struggle for human rights over a life of privilege, a choice that has consequences when you live in China. In April 2011 he was suddenly kidnapped by the Chinese authorities, and held in in isolation at a secret location, denied all contact with the outside world and refused access to a lawyer. When he was released it is only to a year of house arrest under constant surveillance, his every move monitored by the state.
Should he continue to risk his life for the Chinese people or keep his mouth shut?
The film Ai Weiwei: Fake Case follows the artist right after his release. He is grounded in his house in Beijing, on probation and subjected to tight surveillance and restrictions by the Chinese authorities. He is met with a lawsuit, which he soon names ‘The Fake Case’.
After his release Ai Weiwei is shaken, marked as he is by the pressure, the detention and the Kafka-like oppression. But slowly he regains his strength and courage, ready to face his opponents even though their powers are mighty. He spends time with his young son, talks about the dark past with his mother, and secretly creates a stunning piece of art depicting his time in detention, always blending his life and art with politics. Responding to the lawsuit, ordinary Chinese citizens spontaneously send him money with personal notes urging him to keep up the fight. Ai Weiwei’s firm belief that China is about to change is refueled. And he will fight to make it happen.
The year is full of uncertainties, personal despair and unjust court cases, where Ai Weiwei heads into trouble, breaks the rules, and intimidates secret agents following him. During this period of his life, he finds new ways to express himself in order to continue to be a free human being and simply to stay alive, lending voice to himself and to the Chinese people.