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Ai Weiwei’s Latest Film Is a Chilling Look at Life Under Lockdown in Wuhan Through the Lens of Chinese State Control

24 August 2020

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Ai Weiwei’s Latest Film Is a Chilling Look at Life Under Lockdown in Wuhan Through the Lens of Chinese State Control

Streets are empty and deserted. Cleaners in hazmat suits hose down surfaces—and each other—with sanitizer. Alarms sound as medical workers shuttle tightly wrapped bodies on gurneys and stretchers.

These are just a few of the apocalyptic images that greet viewers of Chinese-born artist Ai Weiwei’s new documentary film Coronation, a look at life under lockdown in Wuhan, China. It’s being released today on Vimeo on Demand globally and on Demand Alamo Drafthouse in the US.

The film looks at the city through the lens of Chinese state control over the course of the coronavirus lockdown. Ai, who is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and served 81 days in prison there in 2011, remotely directed and produced the film from his home in Berlin. The film was shot and submitted by ordinary citizens living in Wuhan.

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Photo credit: Ai Weiwei