BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute)


(out of 5)

Director Robin Campillo looks back to his own days as a member of the Paris chapter of AIDS activist group Act Up.  It’s 1989 and members of the HIV-positive community and their friends are, like the Americans who started the group a few years earlier, out of patience with the government’s delays, the public’s intolerance and the corporate greed that are not permitting the breakthroughs in medical technology that could deal with the crisis.  A great deal of the group’s members are themselves ill and don’t have time to play nice with the politicians and pharmaceutical representatives who, they feel, are not doing their best, going after them in headline-grabbing stunts that involve interrupting medical conferences, breaking into office buildings and throwing a lot of balloons full of fake blood.  The narrative is rooted in the many scenes of weekly meetings whose impressively natural rhythm of conversing back and forth resembles the best kind of procedural French drama that can be so compelling (Polisse comes to mind, or The Classwhich Campillo co-wrote).  No matter how much these dedicated and intelligent young people spar with each other, and in some cases reach very unpleasant disagreements with the way they mean to do things, there is a lot of love and affection as well, not to mention the shared pleasures of sex and dancing in night clubs that shows the director expressing great admiration and loving nostalgia for the group’s achievements.  The final sequence, which shows unity under the most important experience that any of these members would have to face, is the perfect cap on an enlightening and moving experience.  Campillo’s writing and direction are superb, but he also assembles a flawless cast with no weak spots, the best of them as the would-be protagonist Sean, whose own personal conflicts are as dramatic as what he faces against the outside world, and as one of the most intelligent and articulate of the activists.

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, 2017

Directed by 

Screenplay by Robin Campillo, 

Cinematography by

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by 

Film Editing by Robin Campillo, ,

Film Festivals: ,

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , ,, , , , , , , , , ,

Cannes Festival Award
Grand Prize of the Jury

European Film Award
Best Film Editing

Best European Film
Best European Actor (Nahuel Perez Biscayart)

Independent Spirit Award Nomination
Best International Film

New York Film Critics Award
Best Foreign Language Film

Los Angeles Film Critics Award
Best Foreign Language Film (tie)

Chicago Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

National Society of Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

Cesar Award Nominations
Best Film
Best Supporting Actor (Antoine Reinartz)
Best Supporting Actress (Adele Haenel)
Best Director (Robin Campillo)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Newcomer (Male) (Nahuel Perez Biscayart)
Best Newcomer (Male) (Arnaud Valois)
Best Costume Design
Best Set Decoration
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound
Best Original Score


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