About the Film
Ai Weiwei, arguably the world’s most recognizable contemporary artist, places his fame at the service of the refugee crisis in Human Flow, an expansive, eye-opening documentary that aims to call attention to the worst humanitarian calamity since World War II. Beginning and ending with overhead drone shots that make refugee boats in the Mediterranean look like beautiful abstract compositions, Ai and his twenty-five different film crews then criss-cross the globe interviewing experts while shining a light on the millions of people forced by war and poverty to flee their countries.
From refugee camps in Iraq and Kenya to border walls in Macedonia and Mexico, the film reveals the scope of the crisis as well as the absence of any concerted effort by first-world nations to address the problem. Instead, untold numbers spend years in inadequate and unsanitary tent cities, or are forced to scrounge for food and housing in some of the world’s most dangerous spots, which become breeding grounds for extremism. Ai shows himself meeting refugees, joking with them and occasionally offering comfort to those in extreme situations who are unable to see what sort of future lies before them. Human Flow is a free-wheeling contemplation and a cry for
help, designed to expose the cost of the world’s inaction.
No other artist working today has the exposure of Ai Weiwei, a cerebral creator whose multi-media pieces draw thousands to exhibitions in the world’s major museums and galleries as well as outdoor urban spaces. Whether working in porcelain, as in his famed “Sunflower Seeds” installation, or sculpted steel, or video installations, Ai uses his art to explore the boundaries of free expression. One of the most recognizable figures on the global cultural stage, his political stance as an active critic of totalitarian regimes helped earn him Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2015.