France: AIDS Activism Movie 120 Beats Per Minute Honored with Prestigious Award at Cannes

The important, deeply moving film 120 Beats Per Minute, from director Robin Campillo, about AIDS activism in the ‘90s in France, was awarded the Fipresci award from the International Federation of Film Critics at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend. The narrative docudrama from the director of the acclaimed Eastern Boys chronicles the life-saving work of ACT UP while also depicting the effect of the AIDS epidemic on individual personal lives.  

In reviewing the film, Vanity Fair called 120 Beats Per Minute “a vital new gay classic,” while Telegraph UK deemed it, a vitally erotic, moving ode to activism.” 

The film follows a group of Parisian AIDS activists, many of whom are positive, as they battle with the government and big pharma, all while navigating their own lives and love under the trauma of what HIV/AIDS wrought upon LGBT people. 

There have been the excellent documentaries We Were Here and How To Survive a Plague that captured the fervor of the era and the work of ACT UP and activists who changed the course of the epidemic when governments refused to listen, but there hasn’t been a narrative film about the epidemic — with the exception of HBO’s The Normal Heart— that has garnered as much attention for a time in LGBT history that is quickly being forgotten by those who didn’t live through it.  Read more via the Advocate