Indie Gems: BPM (Beats Per Minute)
I want you to live.
Members of the French advocacy group ACT UP Paris are struggling with getting their leaders to acknowledge the AIDS crisis in 1990. Our main view point is a young HIV positive man, Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) who finds a new relationship with Nathan (Arnaud Valois) a new recruit.
This is yet another movie that gets the AIDS crisis better than Philadelphia does. I know it's a weird way to start a review but I keep thinking back to my February Blind Spot and I still can't believe how the Academy embraced something that played it so safe. The extraordinary thing about BPM is that a number of the scenes take place in a classroom where the group meets. They just debate and talk out their issues, and it's fascinating. A film that relies so heavily on scenes like that already has an up hill battle with keeping everyone's attention and this film tackles it perfectly. I could've sat it on these meetings all day.
Biscayart and Valois have excellent chemistry together, and Adèle Haenel who was in another French film I love, Water Lilies also has a big role. The cinematography in this is gorgeous as well. Not only is there a stunning shot of the Parisian skyline (you'll know it when you see it) but even the way they shot their protests and marches was beautiful. They made it feel like you were really there with them.
If there's one place BPM struggles, it's towards the end. Obviously, the film is going to get heavy but I just didn't think the last 20 minutes or so was as engaging as the rest of the film. There was a stark contrast between the two parts.
I wish this would've been on the Best Foreign Film ballot at the Oscars this year. It certainly deserved to be.
Watched on: Netflix DVD
Memorable Quote: "You gave it up? For five years?" - Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart)