Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case ★★★

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist of worldwide renown. I had already witnessed some of his story in the 2012 film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. In that documentary he was already in trouble with the regime for living his political protests on Twitter. In the meantime Weiwei was jailed, then released on a year's probation while the government extorted $2.5 million for income tax evasion from his art company, Fake. Paraphrasing Weiwei: a fake charge on a Fake company.

This documentary was made during the year Weiwei spent restricted to Beijing, but reasonably free to create his art - except that he could not give press interviews, and contact with the internet was interdicted. Still the filmmakers managed to shoot a great deal of Weiwei's activities during this year, and much of that artist's irrepressible personality and humor shines through. Like the previous film, this one is overlong and necessarily episodic. But like the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who filmed his house arrest surreptitiously in the documentary This is Not a Film, Weiwei illustrates by participating in this project that the best offense against tyranny is great art and a positive attitude.