“BPM (Beats Per Minute)” opens Friday and it is an astounding film everyone should go and see
Monday night i attended a screening of BPM (Beats Per Minute) at the ArcLight in Hollywood.
I had no idea that two hours and 20 minutes later, I’d stagger out of the theater feeling so deeply impacted. There were tears, there were times I felt like I could not breath, and at one point near the end, I honestly thought I might faint.
Not trying to be a drama queen, just sharing with you how it all went down.
Set in the early 1990s, the film depicts a group of HIV/AIDS activists associated with the Paris chapter of ACT UP. These characters are literally fighting for their lives and you have a fly-on-the-wall vantage point of their epic meetings, their many demonstrations, and the relationship of one couple in particular.
BPM feels like a first-rate documentary and that authenticity is due to director Ron Campillo and co-screenwriter Philippe Mangeot drawing on their personal experiences with ACT UP in developing the story. The movie had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it won four awards, including the Grand Prix.
The large cast includes Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Arnaud Valois as the main couple plus Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Felix Maritaud, Médhi Touré, Aloïse Sauvage, Simon Bourgade and Catherine Vinatier. Saadia Ben Taieb absolutely broke my heart as the brave mother of a man dying of AIDS. It was as she was dressing her son’s corpse that I felt faint. My legs felt like lead as I got up and walked over to the side of the movie theater to gather my bearings.
I’ve seen thousands of movies in a movie theater and that has never happened before.
Because of the storytelling and wonderful acting, I seem to have felt even more visceral emotions during this film than I did during the superb documentaries How to Survive a Plague and We Were Here. One of the main characters in the film got infected the very first time he had sex. That could have been any of us. And it was many of us.
It breaks my heart to know the forces they were up against: in particular drug companies putting profit ahead of human lives – beautiful, young human lives.
Also in the audience Monday night was director/writer Glenn Gaylord (I Do, Leave it on the Floor). I’d like to direct you to a thoughtful review Glenn has posted on his website.