Ai Weiwei documentary airing on PBS Monday night

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” the 2012 feature documentary about the outspoken Chinese artist, will air on PBS Monday night as part of the Independent Lens series. In Southern California, the movie is scheduled to air on PBS SoCal (KOCE) at 10 p.m.

The documentary, directed by Alison Klayman, debuted last year at the Sundance Film Festival where it won a special jury prize, and was later released in movie theaters in the U.S.

Ai has risen to fame in recent years for his conceptual art but more so for his online activism, which has gotten him into trouble with Beijing officials on a number of occasions. In 2011, he was arrested and put into secret detention for 81 days. Since his release, the artist has not been able to travel outside China.

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The documentary was made before Ai’s arrest and provides an inside look at his life, artistic process and complex public persona. The movie follows him on his daily life in his Beijing studio -- cats galore -- as well as his 2010 visit to London for the “Sunflower Seeds” installation at the Tate Modern.


“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” contains some mature content, including repeated images of the artist raising his middle finger. The impolite gesture is a recurring motif in his art.

The Times visited Ai in his Beijing studio last year on the occasion of the documentary’s U.S. release.

Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote in his review of the documentary that “the story is enthralling, but it’s not over, and there’s no telling where it’s going. Which makes what we see on screen all the more involving.”


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