Human Flow – A film by Ai Weiwei introduced by Watershed’s Mark Cosgrove
October 26 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm£4 - £8
Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.
Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey. It is shot using various technologies, including drones, cameras, and iPhones.
Ai Weiwei notes that this film is extremely personal to him, as his past experiences of inhumane treatment after being forced out of his home in Beijing during China’s Cultural Revolution. His experiences helps him understand why he identifies with the refugees in the film, with the external forces they are often powerless to. Ai also explains the significance to his title, Human Flow, and how it relates to flooding. One can either build a dam to stop the flood, which doesn’t solve the issue entirely and could intensify the outcomes. Or one could find a path to let the flow continue.
Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?
We are delighted that Watershed’s Cinema Curator, Mark Cosgrove, will introduce the film and talk about it briefly afterwards. Mark joined Watershed in 1994 and has worked in Independent Cultural Cinema Exhibition for over 20 years. He has curated seasons and touring programmes ranging from New Portuguese Cinemas to a retrospective of French filmmaker Claire Denis. He has been on juries at film festivals including Cannes and Berlin. He is also the Creative Director of Encounters International Film Festival in Bristol. In November 2010 he collected the Europa Cinemas award for Entrepreneur Cinema of the Year.
Our thanks to all the team at Hauser & Wirth Somerset for supporting this film.
Director: Ai Weiwei
Running time: 2h20