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120 BPM (Beats per Minute)

120 BPM (Beats per Minute) 15 rating

Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, Robin Campillo’s extraordinary account of 1990s AIDS activism is a rousing, sensual and heart-breaking celebration of personal and political resistance.

Drama 2017 143 mins

Director: Robin Campillo

Overview

Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, this rousing, heart-breaking celebration of political activism is nothing short of a modern queer classic. Drawing directly on personal experience, Robin Campillo’s extraordinary account of AIDS activist group ACT UP-Paris in the 1990s begins in the thick of it – at a group meeting. As members discuss action and debate strategy, a small gang of fresh recruits are welcomed into the fold. Among the newbies is introspective, HIV-negative Nathan, who finds himself instantly drawn to outspoken group member Sean. As Nathan becomes more involved in the group’s activities – from closed-off meetings to direct action in medical labs, school playgrounds and political rallies – his romantic relationship with Sean develops.

With much of the drama taking place in the meeting space, Campillo’s film thrives on the power of discourse. So rarely has the palpable exhilaration and frustration of activism been so richly rendered on screen, with the weekly gatherings that punctuate the film exuding passion and anger. But far more than a cerebral account of political action, this is a deeply emotional and bracingly sensual film, which ignites the heart and body just as much as it incites the mind.