Feb 21
2019

According to Variety, the executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out of fear of upsetting Chinese officials. But Emmanuel Benbihy, the film’s Shanghai-based executive producer, says that Ai’s segment did not meet the requirements for inclusion and that the award-winning artist is obsessed with criticizing China. “Berlin, I Love You,” whose short takes feature such stars as Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, was submitted to the Berlin Film Festival but failed to land a slot, even out of competition or in one of the fest’s sidebars. Instead, it began its commercial career with a Feb. 8 theatrical release, handled by Saban Films, in the U.S. To Ai’s surprise, the finished picture left out the segment he shot in 2015, long before contributions from Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger and nine others went before the cameras. Ai directed his piece remotely, issuing instructions by video-call, while under house arrest in China, to Claus Clausen, the Germany-based producer of the film, who co-directed. (Ai later relocated permanently to Berlin.) The segment focuses on a boy, played by Ai’s son, who discovers a new city and uses unreliable technology to keep in touch with his distant father. The complete story can be read over at Variety.