Ai Weiwei is known for his work for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and then for his subsequent troubles with Chinese authorities over dissent (the subject of more than one film).
His “Human Flow” is a monumental and lengthy (140 min) collage of refugee experiences all over the world. The film starts with a shot over water reminding one of a similar shot in “The Master” (2012), leading to presentation of refugees on flotillas across the Mediterranean.
The film soon shows us long shots of refugee camps in Iraq, Jordan, Thailand, Bangladesh Turkey, Kenya, Greece, and even farther north in Calais (which gets dismantled).
There’s a scene in Turkey where the people first look like ants from above until the drone camera gets closer. There’s a scene inside a hangar in Germany where families like in cubicles.
Some of the most stunning footage occurs around Mosul, with the oil fires deliberately set (like the 1992 “The Fires of Kuwait”).
Near the end of the film the expected scenes along the US Mexico border appear.
Ai Weiwei often appears in many scenes, assisting individuals personally.
The film does not go into detail into the programs that countries have to house refugees in regular apartments and have sponsorship with regular families (as in Canada), and it doesn’t get into the difference between asylum seekers and refugees.
The film, at the end, does comment on global wealth inequality, climate change, and that people with different personal and communal cultures will have to learn to live together on one climate.
US-Mexico border Wiki picture.
Weiwei biographical history.
Review of “Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case” (2014).
Review of “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” (2012)
|Director, writer:||Ai Weiwei|
|When and how viewed:||Landmark E-Street, 2017/10/14, near sellout|
|Companies:||Amazon Studios original film, Participant Media, AC Films|
|Link:||Hollywood Reporter director QA|
(Posted: Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 at 10 AM EDT)