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
FEATURING: Nan Goldin
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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