Culture / Film

A Nan Goldin documentary is almost here

all the beauty and the bloodshed

"Photography's like a flash of euphoria," Nan Goldin tells the camera, "and it gave me a voice". A new documentary from Laura Poitras meets the photographer, now 69, during her battle against the Sackler family. And while much of All the Beauty and the Bloodshed focuses on the protests Goldin spearheads against the Sacklers – a family responsible for Oxycontin, their name praised across the Met, the Guggenheim and the Louvre – a huge chunk of it acts as biography, documenting Goldin's life, both her rise as an artist and the circumstances around her ascent.

For those not yet familiar with Goldin's work, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is the perfect place to start. It tracks the artist from Boston to New York City where she was involved in the downtown New Wave scene of the early 80s and began to document these circles as seen in her influential series The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. From those harrowing images of Goldin's beat up face, the amber-hued image of Nan in bed with Brian, to ones of her friends as they partied, got high, fought and had sex.

Naturally Goldin is present in much of the documentary to guide us through the years in her own words; speaking to her own relationship to addiction, the fractured bond between Nan and her parents and the chosen family she prioritised instead, as well as the tragic suicide of her sister. Poitras touches on Goldin's 1989 AIDS exhibition Witness: Against Our Vanishing, this early example of the photographer's activism tying into her current day instruction of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) in response to the opioid crisis.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed took home the Golden Lion Award at Venice Film Festival and made its Australian debut at Perth Film Festival. Preview the trailer for the film below, or see it in theatres for its November 23 release.

Stay inspired, follow us.

Image: Perth Film Festival