Rosforth and Danish Documentary present a film by Andreas Johnsen




The Chinese authorities threaten Ai Weiwei to keep his mouth shut. But to Ai Weiwei a life lived in silence is not a life. It is death.



In April 2011, world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is kidnapped by the Chinese authorities and detained at a secret location. 81 days later he is released, but put under house arrest. The man we know as an unstoppable fighter for the freedom of speech is merely a shadow of himself. He suffers from sleeping disorder and memory loss. 18 cameras are monitoring his studio and home. Police agents follow his every move, and heavy restrictions from the Kafkaesque Chinese authorities weigh him down. Journalists, the art world and his family all want a piece of him. On top of it all he is met with a gigantic lawsuit from the Chinese government, soon to be named ‘The Fake Case’ in reference to the obvious false reasons behind the accusations.

Ai Weiwei is brought to his knees but he is surely not ready to lie down and give up his fight for basic human rights. 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. In response to the lawsuit, ordinary Chinese citizens spontaneously send him money with personal notes about keeping up the fight. Ai Weiwei’s firm belief that China is about to change is refueled and the headstrong artist finds new energy to provoke the mighty Chinese powers. He wants to stay a free human being, and to lend voice to himself and to the Chinese people.


Executive Producer

Danish Documentary
@ Sigrid Dyekjaer

Festival Distribution

Danish Film Institute
@ Anne Marie Kürstein
tel: +45 4041 4697

TV Sales

DR Sales
@ Helene Aurø
tel: +45 2342 0007


Rosforth Film
@ Andreas Johnsen


Director and cinematographer
Andreas Johnsen

Film Editor
Adam Nielsen

Sound Designer
Rasmus Winther Jensen

Katrine A Sahlstrøm

Executive Producers
Andreas Johnsen
Sigrid Dyekjær

­Produced by
Rosforth and ­Danish Documentary

With support from

Danish Actors’ Association

Danish Film Institute Film commissioner
Klara Grunning-Harris

DR Commissioning editor
Mette Hoffmann Meyer

Nordisk Film & TV Fond Documentary
consultant Karolina Lidin

Media programme of the European Union

In association with
Against Gravity
DR Sales


World Premiere

November 20th - December 1st 2013
IDFA, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

Theatrical release, Denmark

November 30th 2013:
Copenhagen Grand Teatret
Aarhus Øst for Paradis
Aalborg Biffen Art Cinema
Kolding Nicolai Bio
Odense Café biografen