BPM (120 Battements par minute)
A Tragic Romantic (yes, both in caps) set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in early 90s France. And unlike the American (read: mostly Hollywood) interpretation of the subject, BPM was a less showy retelling of the brave actions of the ACT UP activists, mixed in with a dose of European sensibility and arthouse auteur-ness. However, of course it still did have it cliches and was an unabashed tear jerker, but at least the cliches served a purpose and the tears were well-earned. The film was long but it never really felt the full 140 minutes and director Robin Campillo has smartly intersected the film with breaks to give the audience brief breathers to reflect and ruminate and recollect. A superb cast all round and our two leads had great, palpable chemistry that felt honest and real, which was crucial to the inevitable - but yet still cathartic - climax. The music was apt throughout and the choice to close the credits with no accompaniment was apt. After that ending, it was more appropriate to sit and reflect. Perhaps on how the world has changed because of these brave people, the social minorities who refused to be forgotten and neglected. Or perhaps on how we have benefitted from their sacrifice. BPM was an emotionally draining film that deserved to be watched.