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All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

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The rare documentary to win the top prize (the Golden Lion) at the Venice Film Festival, this is an important film of our times from Academy Award-winning director Laura Poitras (Citizenfour).

American photographer Nan Goldin is famous for her candid, empathetic documentation of the intimate, exuberant, anguished lives of urban bohemia, sex workers, gay and trans communities, artists, addicts, and her own sexual and romantic life. But since 2017 Goldin has used her celebrity to denounce the Sackler family’s art-washing tactics in light of their complicity in the opioid crisis. Goldin’s own experience with opioid addiction makes this a deeply personal crusade, and the film tightly binds her life, art and activism together in a way that is, simply, inspiring.

Like Goldin, who will permit her photographic subjects to tear up images they don’t like, Poitras places a high value on collaboration, and the spine of the film comes from many hours of audio interviews with Nan, who speaks courageously and movingly about her upbringing in middle class suburbia, and the suicide of her older sister, Barbara, when she was just 12. Photography became her means of expression and an escape from a “safe” world where hard truths were dusted under the carpet.

Content consideration: This film addresses suicide, sexual abuse, drug addiction, sometimes with graphic imagery.

I can’t shake the feeling of being shook by it. I can’t wait to see it again.

David Fear, Rolling Stone

Stunning… Ultimately, Poitras’s portrait of Goldin reveals the ways in which she has always sought to destigmatize marginalized subjects like sex work, battered women, queerness, and addiction. She did so not only through her art, but in how she lived her life with passion and clarity of vision. In the end, everyone leaves an impact on those around them. What matters most is having the courage to harness that power for a lasting good.

Mary E Gates,

Every now and then, one encounters a film at a festival that seems destined to become a classic. Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is one of those films…

Pat Mullen, POV magazine


Laura Poitras


Nan Goldin

Country of Origin







Winner: Best Film (Golden Lion), Venice Film Festival

113 min

Book Tickets

Saturday January 28

12:50 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Sunday January 29

12:00 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Thursday February 02

1:00 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Executive Producer

Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Clare Carter, Alex Kwartler, Hayley Theisen


Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin, Yoni Golijov, Laura Poitras


Nan Goldin


Amy Foote, Joe Bini, Brian A. Kates

Original Music

Soundwalk Collective