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Love Rises Above Politics in Beats Per Minute

Love Rises Above Politics in Beats Per Minute
From TIME - October 19, 2017

Movies about political activists tend to put the politics first and the human second. Not so with French writer-director Robin Campillo's BPM (Beats Per Minute). Set in early-1990s Paris, the film follows a group of ACT UP members as they launch AIDS-awareness demonstrations, squabble during meetings and let off steam on the dance floor, all in the service of keeping themselves, and anyone else at risk, alive.

Campillo, who co-wrote the script with AIDS activist and educator Philippe Mangeot, captures the mood of an era with a specificity that's by turns somber and joyous. The love story between guarded HIV-negative activist Nathan (Arnaud Valois) and the more politically aggressive--and HIV-positive--Sean (Nahuel Prez Biscayart) is the story's strongest magnet. A tender and captivating sex scene between the two suggests that falling in love requires more than just the engagement of mind, heart and body: each partner also brings baggage. But the total burden is lighter when two people shoulder it together. This is how you love when your life depends on it.

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