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“120 Beats per Minute”, a Lust for Life

Director Robin Campillo follows the struggle of Act Up-Paris, an advocacy group founded in Paris in 1989 to combat the AIDS crisis, inspired by the original New York organization. The movie, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes and has been chosen to represent France at the 2018 Oscars, will be released in U.S. theaters on October 20.

The movie is set in the early 1990s, when combination therapy did not yet exist. Contracting AIDS therefore implied a swiftly enacted death sentence. In the face of the French government’s indifference and the sluggish progress of pharmaceutical companies, the Act Up-Paris militants decide to devote themselves to hard-hitting activism. Their objective is to speed up research, raise public awareness, and lift the taboos surrounding sexuality and drugs. Some of the members are already ill, while others are only carriers of the virus. The activists include homosexuals, heterosexuals, infected hemophiliacs, and everyone commits themselves to their shared struggle despite a number of disagreements.

In making this movie

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