The documentary, 1h 57m, directed by Laura Poitras, won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 79th edition, as the best movie, in 2022. And has been shown in Italian cinemas for the first time, during the days of Valentine’s, love birds’ festivity. A collection of photos, videos and archive material of the artist and activist Nan Goldin and her artists' friends. They inspired her, they helped her find her identity and they created with her and fought a ‘war’ with her.

I don’t want to be a spoiler, but the one thing that shocks me the most was the original medical documentation about Barbara, Nan’s sister, who killed herself, and we find out about her suicide right at the beginning of the movie. In this document is stated that she suffered from severe clinical depression, but also that her mother, was the one who really needed to be institutionalized for mental illness. The younger sister Nan was forced into the foster home system, as doctors said, she needed to change the family environment, or else, would have ended up the same as her older sister. They both had problems with the disease of addiction and had gone through drug abuse, throughout most of their lives, while growing up.

This movie is really touching, I personally cried a lot, and it was also shocking in some parts. The documentary mainly talks about the political movement and collective P.A.I.N., which fought the Sackler family for years, the first ones who put into the pharmaceutical world Valium and Oxycodone. Two very strong medications, that are highly addictive and even if prescribed by doctors, have been the cause of millions of deaths in the United States of America especially, but in the rest of the world too. Caused by abuse and overdose. In the USA the opioid crisis is a spreading epidemic.

In this documentary we can see how Nan Goldin, through her lifetime, always stood by the side of the outcast of society; drag queens, gay people, yunkies, sex workers and people who suffered and died from AIDS too. Lots of loss of lives lays in the gutters and downtown New York.

The Sackler family has also been a supporter of many art institutions like the Tate, the Guggenheim Museum, The MOMA, and the Louvre and they also had a special section of artworks at Harvard University. This is one of the many shocking factors in this story. They washed their death money, in the art system, and in some of the institutions, Nan was showing her work in it. This made the artist Nan Goldin and the activist movement even more enraged.

The activist movement P.A.I.N. has done many performances during the years, after Barbara’s death, and the ones of many many more. Caused by the opioid crisis with the addiction of patients on Oxycodone. Everyone first starts taking it as a pain killer, after surgery or under painful circumstances of body pain. Then most of its users turn out to be addicted to this medication and start abusing it until most of them died of an overdose. The numbers and the ages are devastating. Most of them were extremely young.

Addiction does not look at gender or social class, or background, it just causes pain and destruction, in the life of the ones affected by it and the ones living around them; like family members and friends. It is called a family disease and destroys everything you have and everything else around you.

Nan and the other activists for years protested inside and on the streets close by the institutions funded by the Sackler family. By laying like dead people on the floors, inside and outside the museums, screaming, throwing prescriptions around the Guggenheim Museum of New York, and throwing plastic pill cases.

The Sackler family after many years of protests has been brought through trial, and had to hear and look, online, during the Pandemic of Covid-19, the family and survivors of the victims caused by the death of Oxycodone. This part was very touching, as it’s astonishing how careless they look, about all the damage and death that they have been causing for years.

I won’t tell you all that there is in the movie, but you can read everywhere that they got away with it! By claiming bankruptcy, after they made disappear around 10 billion US Dollars, before closing down the pharmaceutical company.

They paid a sum of $6 billion as a settlement, to the family of the victims who have died from the deadly medication; oxycodone. Now they are at peace with the law, as they also gained immunity for themselves and their generations to come, and cannot be persecuted for any of the penalty death charges that were initially made.

Finally, their name has been removed by the art institutions as well, after they refused further donations from the Sackler family. But this was the result of years of protests made by Nan Goldin and her socio-political movement.

In 2021 the number of deaths caused by opioids has reached the number of 80,411 per year, according to the NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse of the United States.

The drug war, is a real war, killing millions of people around the world each year. It is a spreading Pandemic, we need to create awareness in schools for future generations, and prevent more addicts to become such. This a world-spreading pandemic, that only the system can fight and save lives, from within.

This article is in the beloved memory of all the deaths caused by this tremendous deadly disease: addiction.