120 Beats per Minute It really is a race against time, because it’s the 1990s, the AIDS epidemic is raging in France cloaked in the silent acquiescence of the government and pharmaceutical industry.

In Campillo’s film, Euphoria meets despair whilst the racing heartbeat resembles a ticking time-bomb. It really is a race against time, because it’s the 1990s, the AIDS epidemic is raging in France cloaked in the silent acquiescence of the government and pharmaceutical industry. Parisian ACT UP activists try to break through that silence with rallies, marches and vigils. 120 Beats Per Minute is filled with passion and fury, a portrait of youth’s encounter with death, a full-throated politically-charged film that includes a love story. It is also a collective image of a generation, maybe the last of its kind, that passionately believed in the possibility of change and that politics had to be fought for in the streets. Winner of the Cannes Grand Prix (Pedro Almodóvar headed the jury that year), Campillo’s work revisits the 1990s when the director was an ACT UP activist and lost his partner to AIDS.

Małgorzata Sadowska

Film classification: 15
Duration: 140 mins
Released: 2017
Director: Robin Campillo
Country of origin: France
Classification: 15