AI WEIWEI’S TURANDOT follows Chinese revolutionary artist, Ai Weiwei, as he brings his artistic vision and iconoclastic activism to Puccini’s Turandot at the Rome Opera House during his directorial operatic debut, using the opera as a backdrop to address many issues that plague mankind including the Ukraine war, refugee crises, the Covid pandemic, and more. One hundred years later, the film shows not only that Puccini’s opera is still as vital and relevant as ever, but also according to esteemed choreographer, Chiang Ching – his life-long friend featured in the film, it is also a reflection of Ai Weiwei’s life, and a fitting project for an artist known for his installations, sculpture and photography that denounce authority and champion human rights and freedom of expression. 

Maxim Derevianko
Marta Zaccaron, Christine La Monte, Frédéric Malègue
Post Production
Rome, Italy


A thought-provoking feature documentary, AI WEIWEI’S TURANDOT, intimately follows the extraordinary journey of Ai Weiwei, the renowned Chinese revolutionary artist and activist, as he embarks on his directorial debut at the iconic Rome Opera House. Drawing inspiration from Giacomo Puccini’s timeless opera, Turandot, Ai Weiwei ventures to project the multifaceted challenges that afflict humanity today, encompassing the Ukraine war, refugee crises, the Covid pandemic, and more. This groundbreaking film explores not only the enduring vitality of Puccini’s masterpiece but also highlights its profound connection to Ai Weiwei’s life and artistic vision.


Chinese revolutionary artist and iconoclastic activist, Ai Weiwei, made his directorial debut at the Rome Opera House with Puccini’s Turandot, in 2022. The selection of this opera, banned in Chinese, aligns with Ai Weiwei’s penchant for challenging norms. Our documentary delves into his exploration of a novel platform, showcasing an intriguing convergence of his artistic expression with a traditional art form. Renowned for his interdisciplinary approach, we follow Ai Weiwei as he infuses the opera with a fresh and contemporary perspective, fostering a connection between the past and the present.


Puccini, the great Italian composer who wrote La bohèmeTosca, Madame Butterfly, and  Turandot – all among today’s most performed operas, all with absolutely heartrending music at their center, is along with Verdi, one of the most esteemed composers of Italian opera.  His final opera Turandot, which includes the great tenor aria ‘Nessun dorma’, is one of the few 20th-century operas to have sustained a firm foothold in opera houses across the world. When working on his last work, Puccini said: “Almighty God touched me with his little finger and said, ‘Write for the theatre – mind, only for the theatre’. “And I have obeyed his supreme command.”