Even before its premiere, “All Beauty and Blood” rocked the competition at the Venice Film Festival, apparently taking a line from a Yeats poem from the director’s latest documentary, Citizen Four. The great news: the movie is up to the action. An already powerful director, Laura Potras, moves forward with a stunning and devastating work of astonishing intelligence and sublime emotional strength.
“All Beauty and Blood” is the story of Nan Goldin’s life and art, and how it led her to find pain and an advocacy group targeting the Sackler family for manufacturing and distributing the highly addictive drug OxyContin. It exacerbated the opioid crisis. It has to do with the bonds of society, the dangers of migration, the fact that art and politics are one.
The biggest compliment is that this film deserves gold, her words are as raw as her art, and her art reveals our most intimate and vulnerable selves. To this day, Goldin is best known for her “Sexual Adoption Story” collection of photographs, which includes photographs of the Bowery family in New York in the 1980s and intimate portraits of her having sex with a friend. A face with black eyes after trying his best to kill her.
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” opens with a flashback video of Pine’s first live performance of 2018 at the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They sing “The Sacklers Lie and People Dies” and then lie on the ground and kill. Golden says she was inspired by the protest tactics of ACT UP in the 1980s, and it wouldn’t be the first parallel she or Poitras could draw between the AIDS crisis, opioids and the politics of death for some people in America.
Then Poitras took us to the suburban home where Nan grew up. Goldin says of his beloved older sister, Barbara: “You made me realize the daily, murderous control of the suburbs. Poitras, on the other hand, understands the broader story of his life.” Participating in a 1950s defunct school, the connection between events decades apart until every detail results in a dozen different ways, so this movie does the trick. Great for turning age rings into a perfectly intact shape on one side.
We are told in this first episode that Barbara killed herself. Nan then left and the doctors warned her that if she stayed at home she would meet the same fate. “All beauty and bloodshed” is dedicated to Barbara. Narrating Nan’s life story, her eccentric family, art and what it’s like to meet the billionaire Sackler family is so moving that it only comes to Barbara in the end. , after the statements of missing relatives. For children with a problem of excessive drinking, one understands that sadness is always an emotional support.
Poitras deftly navigates past and present, interviewing investigative reporter Patrick Radin’s cave and meeting the Sackler family, which led to a 2017 New Yorker article titled “The Family That Built an Empire Out of Illness” about their broken home. Inwardly. Image by SUV. After 1996, when Sackler’s Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in the US, Potras has his own terms when it comes to investigative fiction. To combat the public’s fears, they air soothing commercials and an addict speaks directly to the camera while lying about not being addicted to OxyContin.
Once again we return to the best part of Nan’s story: her strange clan presence, first in Provincetown, where John Waters befriended actress Cookie Mueller, and then at The Bowery in New York. Galimorphism of photos and slides shows birds of paradise, feathered drag queens, young women, beautiful women, wild bathing, acting, dancing, smoking, eating and cursing. The consciousness in these images is electrifying, evoking a time of freedom and opportunity in the 70s and 80s before AIDS, when many people huddled together in windowless attics to freely express their artistic sensibilities and lifestyles. .
The film stays true to when AIDS begins to take its toll, and finds Goldin collaborating with the late, great David Wojnarovich in his quest to express what happened through his artwork. His essay on “America’s Killing Machine” reaches out to evoke what was then and is still happening in a new way.
An overview of the subculture is provided with clips from Vivien Dick and Betty Gordon films and tales of Tinpan, a pub where only women work and where Nan is a “dominatrix”. Each thumbnail has its own colored outline or finish. There is no information on the dry box, only direct. Talking Goldin goes through the same fist-pumping fugue as in the film, and Poitras is about to give him the sharp fix he deserves.
In the context of the breakdown of her relationship with the man who hit her, Workneh provided evidence that she “likes to fight.” Fighting is the theme of “Beauty and Bloodshed”, against a person who represents physical harm, or against a family that no one tells the truth, or a drug company determined to clear its name with the gift of art.
As the film progresses, the line between art and politics blurs. The PAIN protests are for art-only museums, but the specific purpose they are taking place is to get the museums to stop accepting money from the Sackler and get their names removed. Potras joins the group as they discuss an old memo in which the Sacklers say they want a “whirlwind” of Oxy’s recipes spread across the United States. At their next show, they brought a wave of direction from the top floor of the Guggenheim into their auditorium. It seems unbelievable
The incident that prompted Golden to find the pain program was an overdose. She almost died, but she came back and stayed clean because she says buprenorphine is harder for doctors to prescribe than OxyContin. All the beauty and blood doesn’t spoil the sudden brawl, except to say that Nan holds her friend’s hand, a small sign of how hard society has allowed this extraordinary woman to survive.
The documentary was informative, but in the last 15 minutes, only the essentials spilled out, showing a strong connection. The etymology of “all beauty and bloodshed” is added, to provide a convenient and angry cry for those on the other side. It is an animated film.
“All Beauty and Bloodshed” premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. Neon will release the film later.