Ai Weiwei fills his latest affecting, insightful and highly topical documentary with the voices, faces and bodies caught in Europe’s refugee crisis.
Continuing the impassioned advocacy that drove 2017’s Human Flow, as well as his recent art, the Chinese-born, Berlin-based art superstar takes a personal approach to the plight of the displaced masses stranded across the continent – recording their pleas for help, hopes for the future, and dismay at the hostility that greets their every move.
Whittled down from 900 hours of footage, The Rest follows individual stories that contribute to an unflinching and forthright examination of life in tents, behind barbed wire and battling against unwelcoming bureaucracy. In Greece, a young woman simply wants to be reunited with her cat. In Germany, a hospitality worker prays that his wife will soon be released from the camp. More follow and, in stunning close-up portraits that traverse the breadth of Europe, Ai tells their tales; in so doing, he also tells a universal tale of the state of the world today.
“A lament for the lack of compassion in the world and the stubborn refusal to acknowledge the common humanity that unites ‘us’ and ‘them’.” – Screen International