120 BPM – a film to watch in 2018: Year of Young People
This week Eden Court are showing Robin Campillo’s 120 BPM, a celebration of the electrifying power of youth – and one you should absolutely watch in 2018: Year of Young People. Eden Court’s Federica Pugliese tells Wave all about the must see film …
120 BPM is based on the director’s own memories of when, at the beginning of the Nineties, he joined ACT UP Paris and many of the things you’ll see in this film – the characters, the slogans, the actions – draw upon real people and real events. Born within the LGBT community, ACT UP Paris was an organisation of activists whose aim was to defend the rights of the people affected by AIDS, spread knowledge about prevention and fight the epidemic that was tearing the community, utterly ignored by the French government.
The film follows the activities of the collective – their animated meetings and passionate debates, the irruptions into pharmaceutical conferences with bags of fake blood, the incursions into schools to hand out condoms and their late nights out, dancing to the 120 beats per minute of the house music which was so popular in those years. Amongst meetings and demonstrations, newcomer Nathan falls in love with HIV-positive and veteran activist Sean and alongside the group’s public fight, we witness the private struggle of a passionate relationship, increasingly overshadowed by Sean’s deteriorating condition.
120 BPM is a beautiful and deeply moving drama, which witnesses the anger and the fight against a government’s apathy and the general disinformation surrounding the disease in those years. Whilst being heart-wrenching, Campillo’s film also manages to convey the contagious enthusiasm of the collective, who often combined the seriousness of the matter with energy and humour during their meetings – often resulting in extravagant actions and hilarious slogans.
In 2018, Scotland is celebrating young people with activities that revolve around a number of themes – including Participation, Equality and Discrimination, as well as Health and Wellbeing, Culture and Education. Campillo’s film tells a story that encompasses and valorises all of these themes, making it a fundamental and inspiring watch for young people this year. Participation was key for the young activists of ACT UP, who actively took part in the democratic debate of their country and did whatever it took to make their voices heard. To make up for the lack of information, they broke into schools and spoke to students to stress the importance of contraception and to make clear that no one, regardless of their age or sexual preferences, was immune from AIDS.
In the Year of Young People, 120 BPM comes as the right film at the right moment – a timely celebration of an active and participatory youth, and an inspirational story to invite young people to take part to what concerns them and their future.
120 BPM is showing at Eden Court from Friday 20 to Thursday 26 April. For more info and booking, check Eden Court’s webpage.