Naked and spectacular

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120 Beats Per Minute [2017] by Robin Campillo

BPM offers a documentary-like glimpse into a very specific historic moment: the AIDS epidemic in the '90s and one group's attempts to take action to stop their friends from dying, ACT-UP Paris.

The most vividly recreated scenes are the heated group discussions in their regular meetings, the political details of activism and the urgency with which they are acting as people die. 

I found it less effective on a personal level; none of the characters seemed interesting or fleshed-out enough to engage me emotionally.  So when the film becomes intensely personal it feels like it's still just reinforcing the political urgency of the moment.

However, at a time when cinema is largely depicting sex, and specifically anal sex, as brutal and disconnected, or just being coy about sex, BPM offers a delightfully intimate and frank depiction of anal sex, that act so central to the spread of AIDS; with care, with tenderness, with communication and with condoms. 

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