NEON shines with All the Beauty and the Bloodshed documentary

Mon. December 26, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

NEON Studios presents an intriguing documentary called All the Beauty and the Bloodshed just in time for award consideration. Academy Award winner Laura Poitras directed and narrated this story following artist Nan Goldin in her adventures. These adventures included photographing LGBTQ+ communities, the new wave music scene and drug culture.

That makes a great deal of material to cover in less than two hours. Her activism work to tackle the opioid epidemic could fill up that time allotment all on its own.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed does what it can with unforgettable portraits and archival footage to cover as much territory as possible. Goldin used her art to deal with past trauma including an abusive relationship hoping to help others as part of the process.

She often presented her art in the form of a slideshow much like a journal to the public. She also published many books over the years and several in collaboration with other artists.

Her medium functions well in a cinematic style also and matches perfectly to this project.

Goldin lived in the lesbian community and found lovers there at one point as she explored her fascination with drag queens. Filmmaker John Waters' Female Trouble star Cookie Mueller was part of this journey and makes an impact on this project.

Addictive pain medication, especially OxyContin eventually became her life's work as she created a campaign called Prescription Addiction Intervention Now or P.A.I.N. Goldin organized protests against the Sackler Family because of their involvement with Purdue Pharma and even blocked donations to museums from them. Her personal and public battle during the crisis was another major contribution Godin has had to society across the globe.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed serves its purpose in displaying the life of a one-of-a-kind artist that continues to live on today. Too many times subjects have passed away before their offering to the world is even noticed. With this documentary, we can celebrate while she is still alive and can appreciate it.

It took an ally such as Nan Goldin to change the narrative about gender and acceptance early on and we can still see the difference and influence she made with her work in 2022.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is currently screening at Gene Siskel Film Center among many other theaters.