Human Flow is Ai Wei Wei’s incredibly powerful, incredibly moving, and incredibly important film about the global
refugee crisis. Though he’s known primarily as a superstar of the contemporary art world, with Human Flow Mr. Ai has made a dramatic entrance into the upper ranks of documentary film. Epic in its scope, Human Flow is a film that was shot in 23 countries around the world in an effort to try to capture the magnitude of a problem that has forced 65 million people from their homes in recent years. As Maohla Dargis put it in her New York Times review, “What Mr. Ai seeks is to go far beyond the nightly news; he wants to give you a sense of the scale of the crisis, its terrifying, world-swallowing immensity.” Remarkably, the result is a film of unbelievable empathy and humanity, one that was tackled by an artist who has been living in exile for years, and who feels a profound connection to the story and to the countless individuals involved. While Mr. Ai never makes the film about himself—thankfully—he’s present in a number of the film’s key scenes, reaching out to some of the refugees he’s met, communicating with them, capturing their stories, letting them be seen and heard.
-Anthony Kinik, Contributor