We are a media-addicted society. As social media proliferates and life grows stranger and more intriguing, fact is becoming much more interesting than fiction. These days we seem to be thirsting more for what is real than what isn't. Reality in 2013 -- and for the past decade -- has been far more appealing and intriguing than most major motion pictures.
Proof is found in the proliferation of reality TV.
While definitely making the most money at the box office, the best filmmaking these days isn't from big-budget flicks featuring overpaid and often arrogant superstars. Daunting special effects that dazzle the senses appeal to the masses but often do little to challenge the mind.
That's the land of documentaries, and it's an art form that is gaining in popularity. The beauty of documentaries is giving us a point of view. Most done in the U.S. these days skew political and whine about this injustice or that. Sometimes they're valid; other times they are not.
Never miss a local story.
That leads us to Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Americans think they have it bad, and some things happening here are really bad. But at least we're allowed to say we think they're really bad and, supposedly, we don't fear government reprisal.
Weiwei is Chinese. He's a brilliant artist, one of the most creative in the world. Weiwei and the Chinese government aren't the best of friends. The artist is quite critical of its repression. Alison Klayman's 2012 documentary on Weiwei demonstrates the hutzpah of this brilliant artist, who daily demonstrates the danger of poking a sharp stick at an angry, dangerous and sometimes wounded animal.
Klayman followed Weiwei from 2008 to 2011 and was given access to the artist at public appearances as well as in his home. She lays out the life and history of this complex, talented and fearless man as he does his art and espouses his political views.
Her work is as brilliant as his. You won't be sorry for investing the time seeing Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. This fascinating and revealing film was one of 2012's few must-see documentaries.
Director: Alison Klayman
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes. It plays Friday, May 17 only at 8:00 p.m. at the Battelle Auditorium.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.