All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – Chicago Int’l FF 2022

Nan in the bathroom with roommate Boston (Photo courtesy of Nan Goldin).

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, the new documentary from Laura Poitras, is playing the major film festivals this season.

Make no mistake that portions of All the Beauty and the Bloodshed are powerful. After watching Dopesick, I was thinking that this would be a complementary companion in its taking down of the Sackler family. Suffice it to say, taking them down is just one part of the film. The rest of the film is devoted to Nan Goldin’s upbringing and later career in photography. It’s the career in photography that gave her a name when it came to speaking out against the museums. When one has work in the permanent collection, museums cannot simply ignore them when they complain. In this case, it was asking them to take down the Sackler name from major museums. Let’s be honest: no museum in the right mind should associate themselves with the opioids epidemic.

When we’re not looking at sequences related to Nan Goldin’s activism with P.A.I.N., the artist is walking us through the rest of her life by way of slideshows or videos. Each comes from previous art works in which the artist captured the sort of images that rarely get captured. A sequence on the AIDS crisis is a harsh reminder that there were those who didn’t do anything to solve that crisis. In a way, it’s a reminder that the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma are not going to do any time for their crimes.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed mixes its focus between taking down the Sacklers and Nan Goldin’s story because it’s all interconnected.

DIRECTOR: Laura Poitras

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed holds its Chicago premiere during the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival in the Documentary and Women in Cinema programs. Neon will release the film at a later date. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.