120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)

120 Battements par minute

A riveting and invigorating account of AIDS activist organisation ACT UP-Paris.


Dir Robin Campillo
Prod Hugues Charbonneau, Marie-Ange Luciani
Scr Robin Campillo, Philippe Mangeot
With Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel
UK Distribution Curzon Artificial Eye

Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, this rousing, heart-breaking celebration of political activism is nothing short of a modern queer classic. Drawing directly on personal experience, Robin Campillo’s extraordinary account of AIDS activist group ACT UP-Paris in the 1990s begins in the thick of it – at a group meeting. As members discuss action and debate strategy, a small gang of fresh recruits are welcomed into the fold. Among the newbies is introspective, HIV-negative Nathan, who finds himself instantly drawn to outspoken group member Sean. As Nathan becomes more involved in the group’s activities – from closed-off meetings to direct action in medical labs, school playgrounds and political rallies – his romantic relationship with Sean develops. With much of the drama taking place in the meeting space, Campillo’s film thrives on the power of discourse. So rarely has the palpable exhilaration and frustration of activism been so richly rendered on screen, with the weekly gatherings that punctuate the film exuding passion and anger. But far more than a cerebral account of political action, this is a deeply emotional and bracingly sensual film, which ignites the heart and body just as much as it incites the mind.

Michael Blyth

On Friday 13 October we are hosting a 120 BPM DJ Night inspired by the film, with DJs Unskinny Bop.

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Robin Campillo, Director

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.