Deutsche Welle 2.18.2019
Producers of the film ‘Berlin, I Love You’ have cited Chinese influence as the reason they cut Ai Weiwei’s segment. The artist told DW that the Berlin International Film Festival suggested his section be removed.
Ai is an outspoken critic of China’s government and spent four years under house arrest in China until he was finally allowed to leave the country in July 2015. He then moved to Berlin.
The Berlin Film Festival told DW they do not comment on films that had not been selected, but added: “We can confirm that the involvement of Ai Weiwei would never be a criteria for choosing or not choosing a film.”
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s segment in the film “Berlin, I Love You” was cut from the final version due to concerns the artist had become a political liability, the artist and film producers said.
“The reason we were given for the episode’s removal was that my political status had made it difficult for the production team to secure further funding,” Ai told DW reporter Melissa Chan.
Ai told DW that the Berlin International Film Festival had suggested his participation in the film had made it difficult for the producers to submit it as an entry to the event, a claim the festival has denied.
“[The producers] told me they submitted this film to the Berlin Film Festival and the festival told them, if Ai Weiwei’s in there, the film can never be accepted,” Ai said.
DW’s Melissa Chan reviewed a document which appeared to confirm Ai’s story.
“Berlin, I Love You” is not the only film to have succumbed to apparent influence from China. Earlier, top Chinese director Zhang Yimou withdrew his film “One Second” — set during the Cultural Revolution — from consideration for the Berlinale’s prized Golden Bear in what is widely believed to be censorship and control by Chinese officials.