All Beauty and Blood, directed by Laura Poitras, caused a stir when it became the second documentary to win the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the Venice International Film Festival this year.
In a film that combines art and politics, a campaign led by photographer Nan Goldin has inspired some of the world’s leading museums and galleries to abandon their financial ties to the Sackler family over their links to the opioid drug OxyContin. It explains how it happened.
Poitras, who won the best documentary Oscar at Citizenfour in 2014, thanked former CIA contractor Edward Snowden for “recognizing that a documentary is a movie” to the then-Venice Film Festival jury.
Speaking more generally about her work, Poitras said: All of us who make them. ”
The film is currently on the long list for Best Documentary at the Oscars, and could also become the first non-fiction film in history to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
It’s about how New York-based Goldin and advocacy group Pain (now Prescription Addiction Intervention) took direct action at the world’s most famous art gallery in protest of their association with the Sacklers. It’s a story. Ties with museums such as the V&A, the Tate in London and the Louvre in Paris have been severed.
Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, owned by Sackler, reached a settlement this year with several U.S. states over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis. Millions of people in the U.S. become addicted to opiate pain relievers such as fentanyl and OxyContin, and between 1999 and 2019, nearly 500,000 people died from pain reliever overdoses. did.
The story was also made into the Emmy Award-winning drama series Dopesick, starring Michael Keaton.
However, it is the director’s weaving of Goldin’s own history through the story that has led publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety to call Poitras’ films “exquisite” and “traumatic”.
The 68-year-old photographer became obsessed with OxyContin at one point, but she’s had a groundbreaking artistic career, including being the first to curate the group exhibition Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing on the AIDS epidemic. best known for 1989.
“I started interviewing Nunn for the documentary, and I was so moved by her work and life that I knew it had to be the crux of the film,” Poitras explains.
“In interweaving these portraits, I wanted to show parallels between her dynamics as an artist and the relationship between art and politics. Her work is not only very close to the heart, but also very political as well.
“She sparked national controversy in America at an exhibition in 1989. She was losing her community and her generation to the AIDS crisis. Once again on the right side of history, she rises up and rejects this notion of the status quo for the sake of truth.”
Documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11 Portraits, in which Asif Kapadia explores musicians Amy Winehouse, Amy, and Michael Moore’s US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have done well at the box office, but as nonfiction they are still It’s extremely rare for a film to beat a feature film in the awards category.
In 2004, Fahrenheit 9/11 was the second documentary to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but was never nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture or Documentary.
Film critic and festival programmer Kareem Aftab said, “But it makes sense that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ won the Golden Lion in Venice and is nominated for Best Picture. ‘ said.
“It felt like an American story. There’s an important message and an exploration of who Nan Goldin is. In America, this news story is a big one.” Jury at this year’s Venice Film Festival is only resonating with U.S. audiences.I agree that having an American subject helps push you into the awards debate, but the Oscars are the American Academy Awards.”
Aftab notes that even in the documentary category, the film ranks among others such as Daniel Roar’s Navalny, another politically charged documentary about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Shanak Sen’s Breathing Everything. It adds that it could face stiff competition from non-fiction films.A cinematic exploration of two brothers’ attempts to protect a flying flies in the polluted air of Delhi. Both are also on the Oscar long list for best documentaries.
“This year has been incredibly strong for documentaries, and the win speaks to documentaries being increasingly examined and viewed in exactly the same way that feature films are viewed,” said Aftab. I will explain.
Poitras says her job as a filmmaker is “to hold people accountable. We need to celebrate independent and hostile reporting, and documentary making is one way to do that.” .
But in retrospect of all the beauty and bloodshed stories, Poitras believes that Nan Goldin and Payne’s campaign against the Sackler surname had “limited” success.
“In a way, the film is about impunity. No one was in prison, indicted, or had to file for bankruptcy, but the family name is a shame in the cultural space.” It has been a success of sorts, but limited.
“Sackler’s name remains in the public domain in some spaces, but fewer and fewer every day. The Louvre was the first to drop Sackler’s name. So was the V&A. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and they Ha. Nan should celebrate success. It’s a long-awaited debate, brought to the fore only by those willing to take risks.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed opens in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on 27th January 2023.