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A documentary that inspires us all: ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED
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A documentary that inspires us all: ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED

Kinga Bartczak

American photographer Nan Goldin is what you might call a star in the modern art world. Her works on topics such as LGBT subcultures, love, sexuality, drugs and violence are convincing due to their unsparing directness and the depiction of intimate moments.

Rooted in the NewYork no-wave underground movement, she revolutionized the art of photography. With her outstanding flair for capturing the right moment and her political view through the camera, she has always challenged the definitions of gender and normality. Her photographs are dedicated to themes such as sexuality, addiction and death. They are of unsparing directness, great intimacy and complexity.

After surgery, Goldin is prescribed a strong painkiller. She becomes dependent, but unlike countless others, manages to get out. Since then, she has fought tirelessly as an activist against the Sackler pharmaceutical dynasty, which is primarily responsible for the global opioid crisis. But the billionaire family is also one of the world’s biggest patrons of the arts, on whom artists like Goldin themselves depend. With bold actions, Nan Goldin forces major museums such as the Louvre, the Tate, the Guggenheim, and the Met to reconsider their position and distance themselves from the Sacklers.

ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED is a compelling and inspiring portrait of artist and activist Nan Goldin. Oscar®-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR) was awarded the Golden Lion, the festival’s top prize, for her outstanding documentary in Venice.


2022 Participant Film, LLC. Courtesy of Participant

ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED is a brilliant collage of slideshows, intimate interviews, stunning photographic art, and rare footage of renowned photographic artist and activist Nan Goldin documenting her life and her very personal campaign against the Sackler family.

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Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras skillfully weaves Goldin’s past and present, the deeply personal and the political, and turns it into a great cinematic masterpiece: from the actions of the activist group P.A.I.N.. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) at renowned art institutions, to the intimate photographs of her friends and companions, to Nan Goldin’s slide show “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1985) and her legendary 1989 AIDS exhibition, “Witness: Against Our Vanishing,” censored by the National Education Association.

The story begins with P.A.I.N., an activist group Nan Goldin founded to appeal to museums to reject Sackler family money, to destigmatize addiction as such, and for harm prevention. Inspired by the ACT UP AIDS movement, the group organized public protests aimed at exposing the toxic philanthropy of the Sackler clan, whose company, Purdue Pharma, launched the opioid epidemic with the mass drug OxyContin.

About the author

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Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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