BPM is a fictionalized account of the history of Act Up-Paris, the triumphant true story of some of the great heroes of our era: the men and women who fought for the recognition and improved treatment of HIV and AIDS patients at a time when a diagnosis was a death sentence. As an original member of Act Up, writer-director Robin Campillo brings a detailed, thoroughly researched authenticity to his reconstruction of the activist organization’s politically and emotionally charged group meetings, its colorful protests, and the intimate relationships that bound the tight-knit group together. Yet BPM is anything but a dry history lesson: Campillo intelligently divides the film in two sections, the first of which establishes Act Up’s historical importance by focusing on its internal dynamics and political actions, while the second delivers the emotional punch of its impact on individual fates through a love story between two of its members, one of whom is dying of AIDS. In crafting this remarkable elegy, Campillo achieves a rare blend of celebration and outrage, remaining true to the activists’determination, humor, and youthful vibrancy. Above all, BPM is a remarkable testament to the power of regular citizens to effect change by banding together to demand justice.
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart