All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)
December 17, 2022 7:41 AM - Subscribe

Following the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty who was greatly responsible for the opioid epidemic's unfathomable death toll.
posted by latkes (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I found this very moving. In particular I was struck with how Golden's photography translates to the film medium: so many of the photos are so alive, at times I thought I was watching a moving image instead of still photography.

As a political project I found the narrowness of the project so sad: simply removing the names of the Sacklers from the walls of the most famous art museums - it has some impact on their financial well being if they can't launder their reputation through the art world - but overall it's such a symbolic demand: simply remove the name, not the money, not the system. It's not a critique of PAINs work, but more a reflection on how narrow our political horizons are at the moment.

Anyway I think this is a really compelling and exceptional example of an almost-conventional documentary form, I'm sure in part from this being a collaboration between the subject and the filmmaker.
posted by latkes at 8:06 AM on December 17, 2022

I admire Nan Goldin, and as one can see by this NYT 2018 story hers is a complicated story:
“ In 2014, while she was living in Berlin, doctors prescribed 40 milligrams a day for tendinitis in her wrist, which later required surgery. Ms. Goldin said she ended up using 450 milligrams of the drug each day, seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors and finally turning to a dealer in New York who shipped her pills via FedEx.”
I’ve worked for Poitras.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:06 PM on December 17, 2022

2014 Guardian piece by Sean O'Hagan is also informative.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:13 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

She's open in the movie about having had a heroin use history before having an oxy use history. I don't find her story very complicated - it's oh so very normal: A sensitive person, a traumatizing set of life experiences, easy access to opioids, a life-threatening dependence, and then also, beautifully, amazing art, human connections, principled action, and buprenorphine.

The story I don't think this movie addresses with a satisfactory degree of complexity is the assertion that the overdose crisis is caused primarily by Purdue Pharma. I find that misplaced: opiate use has increased along side de-industrialization, poverty, and despair and chronic pain disorders are closely connected with those phenomenon as well. The entire Pharma industry, the FDA, and various other federal agencies that regulate healthcare hold significant blame as well. The Sacklers are pieces of shit with blood on their hands but I see them as part of a number of murderous systems that inter-relate to cause opiate dependency and overdoses.
posted by latkes at 9:32 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Looking forward to this. I've been a fan of her art for a long time but didn't know about the activism side of her life. It's now showing in the theater here for another month though.
posted by octothorpe at 10:36 AM on December 18, 2022

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