Laura Poitras devotes a beautiful documentary to photographer Nan Goldin: her life, her work, and her fight against those responsible for the opioid crisis.
Known for her candid portraits of Edward Snowden (Citizenfour) or Julian Assange (Risk), Laura Poitras sketches in her new documentary (Gold Lion at the last Mostra) the great Nan Goldin, legendary photographer of the US underground. The rather classic biographical evocation is coupled with more abrasive, militant material, which details the action taken by Goldin against the Sacklers, a wealthy American family at the heart of the opioid scandal: its members are accused of having provoked a monstrous health crisis (we are talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths) by marketing a devastating painkiller, OxyContin. With the PAIN group, Nan Goldin undertakes punch actions in the great museums of the planet, from the Guggenheim in New York to the Louvre, so that these cultural institutions henceforth refuse to cash the big checks that are used to signing the Sacklers, who like to present themselves as nice patrons. By mixing the images of this fight with those of the aesthetic and intimate journey of the photographer, Laura Poitras draws the contours of an existence spent fighting against very powerful repressive American forces: yesterday’s puritanism, the rapacity and impunity of the hyper -rich today. A mind-blowing, unforgettable moment pierces the film from the inside: a court hearing, held on Zoom, where the Sacklers are forced to listen, for long hours, to the testimonies of the families of the victims of their poison. They remain silent, frozen with shame, like prisoners of their little digital windows.
By Laura Poitras. Documentary. Duration 1h57. Released March 15, 2023