Hot Docs 2019: The Rest

The Rest (2019) Documentary | 22 March 2019 (Denmark)
Director: Weiwei Ai
Summary: "The Rest" is a documentary by Ai Weiwei about refugees who arrived in Europe, the world's bastion of human rights. These refugees fled war and persecution in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and ... See full synopsis »
Countries: GermanyLanguages: English, Italian, Turkish, French, Greek, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei goes on the frontlines of the refugee crisis in Europe in The Rest. Refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, and other war torn nations have come to Europe seeking a new life. However, the refugees are refused asylum by France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Sweden, and Turkey are left unable to move forward with their lives.

In follow-up of sorts to his 2017 documentary Human Flow, Ai Weiwei returns to the frontlines of the refugee with an intimate look at the refugees left wandering across Europe. The title is in reference to how these are “the rest” of the refugees, who have all been forgotten by the media, but still finding themselves wandering across Europe, hoping to find a new home.

In a similar way to how The Look of Silence was constructed from extra footage shot The Act of Killing, Ai Weiwei constructed The Rest from 900 hours of unused footage from 2017’s Human Flow. This results in the films essentially being companion pieces with each other, with this new film providing an intimate look at individual refugees. This allows us to place faces onto one of the greatest issues facing the world today, even though I would argue that The Rest doesn’t really add much new information to the discussion as a whole.


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A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Fen Wang