• James Rutherford

'BPM (Beats Per Minute)': An Impassioned Depiction of AIDS Activism in France in the 1990's


Movie poster for the film BPM (Beats Per Minute) starring Arnaud Valois and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart

"BPM (Beats Per Minute)" ("120 Battements Par Minute") is a French drama from 2017 that focuses on members of the Paris chapter of the AIDS activism group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in the 1990s, and their often radical efforts to improve the lives of those living with the disease through increased advocacy and protest.


The story is told largely through the eyes of Nathan (Arnaud Valois), a newly joined member of the organization, and follows his increased involvement in the ACT UP movement as well his burgeoning relationship with an outspoken group member named Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart). Ultimately the film plays out as a very personal human drama, as mortality becomes the undeniable yet heartbreaking fact-of-the-matter for these impassioned young radicals.


It’s a lengthy, bittersweet and engrossing look at an important time in history, with real passion and earnestness for its characters and the mission of AIDS awareness. Rarely will you find political debate and activism so thoroughly engaging, revelatory and emotionally provocative on film.

 

View the trailer: