The photographer Nan Goldin has always been an uncompromising, disruptive force on the American art scene. Active from the mid-1970s onwards, she turned her lens on her own life and her circle of fellow outsiders and cultural renegades. She photographed herself fucking in fetish gear; bruised and bleeding after a beating from an abusive ex. But as this absorbing, revealing, Venice Golden Lion-winning portrait by Laura Poitras suggests, what makes Goldin a genuinely radical figure is not the transgressive subject matter, nor her activism through art during the AIDS crisis. – – It’s the fact that, having found herself in the comfortable position of being embraced by the art establishment, she uses the privilege of her profile to go to war against the very institutions that celebrate her.
Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
Already a robust director, Laura Poitras has leveled up with a towering and devastating work of shocking intelligence and still greater emotional power.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is about the life and art of Nan Goldin and how this led her to found P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), an advocacy group targeting the Sackler family for manufacturing and distributing OxyContin, a deeply addictive drug that has exacerbated the opioid crisis. It is about the bonds of community, the dangers of repression, and how art and politics are the same thing.
Sophie Monks Kaufman, IndieWire