French AIDS drama earns best reviews yet at Cannes Film fest
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CANNES, France — "120 Beats Per Minute," a French AIDS drama with a full heart and a pounding rhythm, debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday and quickly joined the shortlist of
Directed by Robin Campillo, the co-screenwriter of the Palme d'Or-winning film "The Class," the movie
The film's docu-drama retelling of that painful period, combined with a burgeoning spirit of unity for the gay community, earned it some of the best reviews of the festival thus far. Vanity Fair called the film "a vital new gay classic."
Campillo, himself, was an ACT UP militant activist in the '90s and had long wanted to turn his experience — one of both tragedy and inspiration — into a film. He called it a "crucial" time in his life.
"I lived things myself which appear in the film. I actually had to dress a friend of mine who had died," Campillo told reporters. "When you really experience that kind of thing firsthand, you realize these are very simple moments. You don't break down and cry. You have certain forms of self-
The film, filled with personal traumas and political awakenings, is fictional but is based on real events. It tracks the activists through strategy meetings, protests meant to spur action by the government or drug companies, and their evening reveries on the dance floor.
"What I wanted to do was get back to the electricity there was in those days, the energy," said Campillo.
Handicapping Palme d'Or contenders is a notoriously tricky business, since the jury that will decide the award is cloistered in secrecy.
But with about a third of the 19 Palme d'Or contenders having screened by Saturday, "120 Beats Per Minute" was hailed as a definite
If "120 Beats Per Minute" were to win the Palme d'Or, it would follow another, quite different gay coming-of-age film: the 2013 lesbian romance "Blue Is the Warmest Color," directed by Abdellatif Kechiche.