Preview/ 120 BPM + Q&A at HOME

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

Preview/ 120 BPM + Q&A at HOME Manchester, Manchester 27 March 2018 Tickets from £5.00

Director Robin Campillo follows up his 2013 Eastern Boys with the rangey yet achingly intimate 120 BPM. The film charts the activities and group dynamics of Parisien ACT UP activists in the early nineties. Taking home the Grand Prix at Cannes last year, Campillo draws on his experiences as a member of the AIDS organisation to craft a film that bounces between moments of direct action, raucous planning meetings, raves and hospital beds with tangible sense of life and fury.

120 BPM is diligent and believable as a procedural that follows its large ensemble as they do the work of activists: bursting into ineffective or negligent research clinics, fake-blood bags in hand, or passionately debating the nuances of strategy in meetings governed by strict codes of conduct.

There’s a broad roster of characters to juggle — including leaders Thibault (Antoine Reinartz) and Sophie (Adèle Haenel); Nathan (Arnaud Valois) a young HIV-negative newcomer who provides an entryway into the complex machinations of the group, and Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a terminally affected young man who becomes Nathan’s lover — but nobody is anonymous, and Campillo is crucially and painfully aware of the individual tragedies that made up the larger one.

120 BPM
120 BPM

The group’s activism draws exhausting resistance from all sides; from politicians, medical professionals, teachers and even sections of the gay community who see increased publicity around the AIDS crisis as inconvenient to their preferred lifestyle. Indeed, living with, or in proximity to the disease, Campillo’s characters grow accustomed to the political challenges and personal devastations of a fight with such high stakes. Living so close to tragedy can emphasise the urgency of life, and the director studs his film with quiet, tenderly staged love scenes and moments of jubilant abandon.

120 BPM’s standout image, repeated several times, is a hazy shot of the ACT UP group dancing in the early hours. The camera racks focus to settle on particles of dust above the group’s heads, where, backlit by the club lighting, they slowly morph into blood cells. Scored by the throbbing beat of the club, the shot is a poetic and potent, but also emblematic of Campillo’s thrillingly cinematic approach to his subject matter.

Lead actor Nahuel Pérez Biscayart will be at HOME for a Q&A chaired by Dr Andrew Moor, Reader in Film at Manchester Metropolitan University following the preview screening on Tue 27 Mar.

Preview/ 120 BPM + Q&A at HOME Manchester, Manchester 27 March 2018 Tickets from £5.00

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Where to go near Preview/ 120 BPM + Q&A at HOME

Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Event venue

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
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Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

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