Human Flow | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated PG-13 · 140 minutes · 2017

Ai Weiwei is a visual artist, and while your first instinct might be that a 140-minute documentary about refugees would be bleak and ugly, there are images of stunning beauty in Ai’s film. He’s ridiculously ambitious in his scope, touching on multiple humanitarian crises: Iraqis and Syrians fleeing to Greece; Kurds in Eastern Turkey; Africans displaced by war and famine gathered in a massive camp in Kenya. Ai captures the scope of the crisis with stunning images, whether its refugees shimmering in the gold mylar blankets they’ve been given, rain pouring down on a tent city or figures emerging from a dust storm. But it’s also far from an abstract study of unimaginable numbers of suffering people, as Ai makes sure to pause for individual faces and stories. He’s not even timid about inserting himself into his narratives, like comforting one refugee sobbing over her plight. Though such a scene might come off as self-aggrandizing, it’s really an attempt by the filmmaker, even as he creates a beautiful work of art, to fulfill the guiding principle of one German aid worker: “Make people feel like they’re human beings.”


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Director: Ai Weiwei
Producer: Ai Weiwei, Chin-Chin Yap, Heino Deckert, Andrew Cohen, Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann
Cast: Ai Weiwei

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