Art in Action

What connects a Saudi poetess, a Russian performance artist and an Iranian musician? Could it be Ai Weiwei’s assertion that everything is art and everything is politics? That would be the Chinese answer, both wise and ambiguous, to a question as old as humanity itself: what is the role of art and of artists? Some still yearn of art as a way to make up reality, to make folk forget their worries, to exalt, perhaps, beautiful things. That is certainly our politicians’ understanding of art. Art that makes things easier for them. But all over the world there are artists who refuse to fit that bill, artists who have things to say about the world in which they live and who take on the risk to say them out loud. They may not change the world, but they are surely trying to move it. This section is dedicated to them. The selected documentaries are the result of a special complicity between two kinds of artists: the artists who are main characters of the stories and the artists who tell the stories—the filmmakers. The solidarity and admiration of the filmmakers exudes from every frame. And rightly so, because documentary is both art and a vessel for social and political consciousness.