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“120 BPM” is a passionate tribute to gay activism

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IT is a successful time for films featuring gay subjects. From the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” (2016) to the celebrated “Call Me By Your Name” (2017), they are garnering critical acclaim and encouraging public discussion of how the struggle for acceptance endures today, even in societies which have legally enshrined equality.

“120 BPM (Beats per Minute)” is the latest such film. An unabashedly passionate depiction of the work of AIDS activists in Paris in the early 1990s, it has resonated deeply with audiences. At its premiere at the Cannes film festival last summer, critics were in tears; it won several awards, including the Grand Prix. At a recent preview in London, viewers sat dumbstruck during the credits before standing to applaud.

The film’s protagonists are part of the Paris branch of ACT UP—the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. The film shows the collective strategising and arguing over how to rouse a society that is, as they see it, callously indifferent to thousands of gay people dying from AIDS each year in…Continue reading

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