• Golden Globe Awards

BPM (Beats Per Minute) (France)

Shot in a documentary style, this French film tells the story of the AIDS epidemic and the fight of an activist group in Paris called ACT UP (the European counterpart of the New York group, formed in 1987) to gain access not only to medication, but also for transparency in fighting the disease. It is set in 1990s Paris as the pharmaceutical industry is too slow in developing drugs, and the politicians in government do not know how to handle the escalating crisis amidst defamation, racism and bigotry. The story centers on a young couple, one of them HIV positive. Their love story is as heartbreaking as the slow fight for a cure is infuriating.BPM (the original title is 120 Beats Per Minute – as in heartbeats in passion, or sickness) recalls films like The Normal Heart, which similarly details early AIDS activism in the US. BPM shows how the most vital changes in dealing with this problem happened in culture and society. The film has scenes of endless meetings where one can feel the frustration ACT UP members must have gone through in trying to wake up and alert bureaucracy, drug companies and the media.Director Robin Campillo and co-screenwriter Philippe Mangeot drew on their personal experiences as members of ACT UP in writing and developing the film. Their insights are clearly visible and make the story more vivid than if it was just a tale told by a third person. It puts the human aspect of dealing with a pandemic that is tragic on so many levels center stage and brings an in-your-face realism to it that many other films about this topic lack.BPM stars Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois and Adèle Haenel.  It had its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won four awards, including the Grand Prix.