Bearing Witness Films

Left: The Rest (2019), directed by Ai Weiwei, courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio; Right: Vivos (2020), directed by Ai Weiwei, courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio


Bearing Witness

Documentary Films by Ai Weiwei | Videos on Demand

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About the Program

Get to know Ai Weiwei as a documentary filmmaker with two of the artist’s most recent films, The Rest and Vivos. Newly released to general audiences, these films provide an intimate look at life in times of crisis. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of human rights issues around the world.

This program is presented in association with the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace.

The Rest

A follow-up film to Human Flow, Ai Weiwei’s sprawling 2017 documentary on the global refugee condition, The Rest provides an intimate look at the lives of refugees who have settled in Europe after fleeing from war and persecution in their home countries. On the other side of their perilous journeys, most have not found the safe havens of their dreams. Instead, they live in limbo within a disintegrating humanitarian aid system.

Their experiences demonstrate how pan-European values of liberalism and democracy have largely failed in practice. And yet, it is clear from The Rest that humanitarian solutions are urgently needed for these refugees, whose futures remain indefinitely postponed. (2019, 78 min. No MPAA rating.)


Vivos examines the psychological and emotional toll, systemic injustice, and communal solidarity in the aftermath of the forced disappearance of forty-three Mexican students by police and other masked assailants in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014.

Featuring interviews with family members and surviving classmates, as well as human rights experts and international investigators, Vivos presents a defiant assertion of life behind the community’s rallying cry: “Alive, they took them! Alive, we want them back!” (2020, 112 min. No MPAA rating.)

Donor Support

The exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace and its related educational programs are made possible by support from the following Lead Donor:

Steve Tisch Family Foundation
Along with generous support from the following:

Billie B. and Steven G. Fischer Foundation
Chara Shreyer and Gordon Freund