A film by Robin Campillo
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel
English title: 120 beats per minute
More than a trivial tribute to the activists of Act Up Paris, “120 beats per minute” sketches the sensitive silhouette of a forgotten generation. Sensual and evanescent portrait at the crossroads of “Revenants” and “Eastern Boys”.
With Les Revenants (2004), Campillo revived the genre of fantasy while relying on a pure belief: that of a cinema of the premises devoid of effects where only the atmosphere counts. Here act up in Paris in the 90’s were the gays wanted to be heard and make aware that it was not only a gay disease but an everybody disease and wanted to teach prevention to everyone. Act up will be described in the first scene of the film. A conference where gays and not will be protesting where ever the see fit. 120 beats per minute initially looks like a biopic focused on the most eventful years of Act Up, Gays wanted to make a difference here and they were having trouble constantly arrested by the police at rallies. Yes there is a love story here and the director does not shy away with the sex scene either. Young people surrounded by death find in their annihilation a form of dignity and desire. To translate this thirst for life, the filmmaker’s gaze lingers on their faces and their bodies, but also on strange particles enclosing them as if to symbolize fatality. More than a reminder that would remind us of the dark years of AIDS and the ostracism of homosexuals. Act Up Paris once dreamed that the Seine would turn red blood to carry its message higher. Campillo realizes this wish in a tribute of a rare accuracy. And Yes it won for best film at the Cannes Film Festival.