- Director: Laura Poitras
Directed by Academy Award winning director Laura Poitras, the film will weave two narratives: the fabled life and career of era-defining artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty Goldin personally took on in her fight to hold accountable those responsible for the deadly opioid epidemic. Following her own personal struggle with opioid addiction, Goldin, who rose from the New York “No Wave” underground to become one of the great photographers of the late 20th century, put herself at the forefront of the battle against the Sacklers, both as an activist at art institutions around the world that had accepted millions from the family and as an advocate for the destigmatization of drug addiction.
Nan Goldin’s iconic visual diary, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency chronicles the struggle for intimacy and understanding between her friends, family, and lovers in the 1970s and ‘80s. Her work describes a world that is visceral, charged, and seething with life. What’s more, Goldin’s work challenged censorship, disrupted gender stereotypes, and brought crucial visibility and awareness to the AIDS crisis. Goldin herself has said, “I’m bisexual so I can’t really come out as gay. When I’m gay, I’m very gay. And when I’m with men then, you know, I’m with men. I don’t fall in love with people because of their gender.”
Illustrated with a rich trove of photographs by Goldin, who mesmerizingly narrates her own story, including her dysfunctional suburban upbringing, the loss of her teenage sister, and her community’s fight against AIDS in the 1980s, Poitras’s film is an enthralling, empowering work that stirringly connects personal tragedy, political awareness, and artistic expression.