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All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Laura Poitras
USA 2022
117 min
OF

Im berühmten Schneckenhaus des Guggenheim-Museums regnen hunderte Apothekenrezepte von oben hinab in die Halle und entfesseln einen Schneesturm aus Papier. Es ist der Schlüsselmoment des fulminanten Dokumentarfilms, der sich mit dem Kampf der Künstlerin und Aktivistin Nan Goldin gegen die Milliardärsfamilie Sackler befasst; deren Medikament Oxycontin gilt als Auslöser der Opioidkrise in den USA. Eingebettet ist diese Erzählung in Life and Times der bisexuellen Fotografin, die mit Bildern von Sex, Drogen und Gewalt berühmt wurde. „Mein Wunsch ist es“, sagt Goldin, „den Menschen durch meine Fotos jene Kraft und Schönheit zu verleihen, die ich in ihnen sehe“. (Thomas Mießgang)

With her new film Laura Poitras leaves the political arena of works such as CITIZENFOUR or RISK behind, albeit only at first glance. For instead of male whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the focus this time is on Nan Goldin, an artist known for her outspokenness. And because this includes political awareness, the film can also be seen as a sort of introspection: Poitras creating a portrait of a female artist with whom she feels a deep connection. Goldin’s struggles with the media within the framework of her activist platform P.A.I.N gave rise to the film. On one level, the film follows her activities against the billionaire Sackler family, responsible for the production of OxyContin, a drug that has exacerbated the opioid crisis in the US. Politics, of course, has always been a key element of Goldin’s artistic work: the film therefore also draws on intricately arranged photomontages to take us back to milestones in Goldin’s career, such as “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency,” in which she accompanied the artist milieu of the Bowery in New York of the 1980s and the turmoil of the AIDS epidemic. The result is a film that is as deeply layered as it is personal, as poetic as it is truthful; it also shows what it means to reflect on images – how they retain traces that are sometimes only revealed much later. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)

Laura Poitras: FLAG WARS (2003, KO-REGIE), MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY (2006), THE OATH (2010), O'SAY CAN YOU SEE (2011, K), THE PROGRAM (2012, K), DEATH OF A PRISONER (2013, K), CITIZENFOUR (2014), RISK (2016), PROJECT X (2016, K), THE YEAR OF THE EVERLASTING STORM (2021, Episode), TERROR CONTAGION (2021)

Credits
  • Nan Goldin
  • David Armstrong
  • Marina Berio
  • Nan Goldin
  • Chris Foster
  • Amy Foote
  • Joe Bini
  • Brian A. Kates
  • Soundwalk Collective
Participant

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