A queer-themed Cannes winner is now making a bid for the Oscars. 120 Battements Par Minute — a.k.a. 120 Beats Per Minute, a.k.a. “that gay French film that you’re supposed to watch” — has been chosen as France’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the next Academy Awards.
BPM was last seen winning the Grand Prix award (a fancy name for “second place”) at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where it drew critical praise for its ambitious, energetic portrayal of ACT-UP Paris’ efforts raising AIDS awareness in the early 1990s. The film, which marked Morocco-born filmmaker Robin Campillo’s first appearance at Cannes as a director, also attracted accolades for its cast of promising newcomers.
True to its title, which recalls a very excited heart rate, BPM has been called “heart-bursting” and full of a “pointed mixture of styles.” One reviewer recalled Cannes audience members being floored and moved to tears when the film first screened at the festival.
The film is scheduled for release in the U.S. on October 20.
Fans of the artsy existential French zombie series Les Revenants will be tickled to know that Campillo also directed the 2004 movie which inspired that series. He does not, however, take credit for the much lesser American version, The Returned, which was cancelled unceremoniously by A&E after only one season.
Below is the French-language trailer: