BPM (Beats Per Minute)
120 battements par minute
Panorama | Spotlight on France
Frequent screenwriter for Laurent Cantet (whose The Workshop is also in the VIFF 17 program), Robin Campillo has managed a considerable feat with this pulsating and poignant winner: to dramatize the daily grind and meticulous process of 1990s ACT UP AIDS activists in Paris.
Drawing from his own experiences in the movement, the Eastern Boys director recreates the weekly meetings and intermittent demonstrations with the breakneck pace of a thriller, one where the ticking clock directly corresponds to each character’s rapidly decreasing T-cell counts. The first half’s expansive ensemble portrait gives way to an immeasurably affecting romance between Nathan (Arnaud Valois), a newbie, and Sean (Nahuel Perez Biscayart), an HIV-positive veteran. Campillo positions their intimate encounters as necessary acts of caring and connection, however ephemeral they might be. It’s just one example of BPM (Beats per Minute) weighing the personal affects of political complacency. This is a film that asks us to step into the lives of those unable to live life any other way but one propulsive beat at time.
"BPM (Beats Per Minute) is a moving, lump-in-the-throat love story but should also resonate on a political level as a testimony to the power of activism to awaken an indifferent world."—Allan Hunter, Screen
Grand Prix, FIPRESCI Award, Cannes 17