Saturday, October 14, 2017

BPM (Beats per Minute) (2017) NYFF 2017

Director Robin Campillo and his lead actors after the screening Monday
BPM (Beats per Minute) was the first film that got a real thunderous standing ovation at this year’s New York Film Festival. When the film was done there was a roar of approval and the audience leapt to its feet. It got louder and more intense as the Robin Campillo and his cast appeared in the box over the audience. The light remained on them as the crowd cheered.

Yea It’s that sort of a film.

BPM is based on Campillo’s time in ACT UP Paris in the 1990’s. It is not a straight recounting of what happened but was based on what happened around him. The film follows a large cast of characters over a year or more of time. Which watch as the men and women of ACT UP meet and try to get AIDS safety information out to the public, regardless of orientation, and try to make sure that the latest therapies are available to those who need it. As the group struggle with the disease and their agenda, the film narrows the focus to Sean, an AIDS positive man and Nathan who is disease free who fall in love.

A film for the head and the heart this is a film that will move you to tears while it will make you glad that there are people out there fighting the good fight. A beautifully modulated film that is about life in the face of death, I found I was not so much moved by the sadness rather by the films heartfelt assurance that life goes on, sadder, but still forward. I cried not at the times of death but in the moments of life that followed, a memorial parade or the arrival of more and more people to the home of one of their fallen. While they all didn’t get along they were still friends.

While the film is just shy of two and a half hours it moves like the wind. I thought they were kidding when the person introducing the film said that the film doesn’t feel as long as it is, but it’s true.

This is a vital story that we all need to see. Best of all it is one killer romance. If you don’t want to see a film about AIDS see this because it is in the end a romance. The scenes between Sean and Nathan will both make you envious at the connection the men share and break your heart with the course of their story. As curmudgeonly as I can be, I am a sucker for a great love story and this is one.

Robin Campillo has made a wonderful film that is one of the most human and alive films of the year. It is a bittersweet tale that will break your heart and then heal it. One of the best films at New York Film Festival and the shining lights of 2017.

BPM has finished it's NYFF run but it opens Friday in theaters.
The standing ovation

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