RKS Film: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”: Art and Politics

The American documentary “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” is an interconnected story about the life of American Nan Goldin as an artist and Nan Goldin as an advocate to eliminate the imprint and legacy of the Sackler family in the art world.

The Sackler’s company is Purdue Pharma the makers and distributors of Valium and the opiate Oxy Contin which to date has killed over 500,000 Americans.

Nan Goldin is a renowned photographer with a storied life. Profoundly affected by the suicide of her sister Barbara as an adolescent she sought solace behind a camera and developed a keen eye for the “subculture” world of New York City and Providence Rhode Island. At times a lesbian, drug addict and a prostitute she was a part of the subculture of 1970’s and 1980’s hanging out with artists, actors and writers of the fringe. Why not say you’ll follow a life of an artist in the world of hard knocks. You can just about smell the rot of The Bowery in New York!

Goldin struggles for acceptance and respect in a sexist world and her success was hard earned. It would appear her struggle for personal and artistic success gave her the skills to fight a political battle against the Sackler family. The Sacklers were huge patrons of the arts with their names on many galleries in prominent museums through the United States and Europe. These philanthropic darlings were great providers of grants to these museums but in Goldin’s eyes they are nothing but murderers. Goldin was hooked on a variety of drugs including Oxy.

Can the actions of the organization she founded P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) exert enough pressure in the perpetually cash starved museum world to have them stop accepting grant money from the Sacklers and remove the Sackler name from the names of galleries in Museums? Can criminal actions be brought against the Sacklers?

The documentary brings a very personal touch to the ravages of Oxy. Just listen to the taped 911 call near the conclusion of the documentary and feel the pain and make that connection to rage against the Sacklers and Purdue.

Why the title of “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”. That phrase is a comment of her deceased sister in reaction to a card shown to her by a psychiatrist. There is also a comment made by an artist in the film that there is a thin line between blood and action.

The documentary is directed by Laura Poitras. The film plays at Hot Docs in Toronto on December 2/3/5.

Winner of the Golden Lion Award at the 2022 Venice Film Festival.

You can see the trailer here https://cinemaduparc.com/en/film/all-the-beauty-and-the-bloodshed_fr

RKS Film Rating 91/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: