120 Beats Per Minute
[120 battements par minute], directed by Robin Campillo, France 2017, 135' (English friendly)
When you feel angry with and oppose what politicians do, don’t wait. Fight for your rights. A thrilling film about the power of youth and the birth of an opposition movement in the early 90s. In the film of Campillo, euphoria meets despair, and the accelerated heartbeat resembles the countdown of a ticking clock. Because here, it’s a race with time: in the early 1990s, the AIDS epidemic is harvesting people in France and the government as well as pharmaceutical groups are giving it tacit consent. The attempts at silencing the illness are countered with actions, marches and happenings carried out by activists from the Paris-based ACT UP.
120 Beats per Minute is a portrait of a youth full of passion as well as fury, a moving love story, but it is also racial, political cinema. In addition, it is a collective portrait of a generation, probably the last one, which so firmly believed in the possibility of change and that politics must be practiced on the streets.
The film – a return to the 1990s – was awarded the Grand Prix by the Cannes jury (headed by Pedro Almodóvar). The director of the film was himself an ACT UP activist and his partner died of AIDS.