French AIDS drama 120 Beats per Minute (120 Battements par Minute) screened at Cannes last week, and earned the prestigious Fipresci award from the International Federation of Film Critics.
Set in Paris in the early 1990s, the film explores French ACT UP activists’ struggle to get the government and pharmaceutical companies to create and approve effective treatments. Arnaud Valois stars as young activist Nathan, whose world is shaken up by the more radical Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart).
Director Robin Campillo also directed the gay-themed Eastern Boys and the Natalie Portman/Lily-Rose Depp period drama Planetarium, and co-wrote The Class, which won the Palme d’Or in 2008. 120 Battements par Minute also took home the Grand Prix, the second-most prestigious prize of the festival, and this year’s Queer Palm, which recognizes LGBT-themed films.
Before the film’s screening, festival judges protested the persecution of gays in Chechnya by holding signs on the red carpet.
While there wasn’t a slew of other queer movies at Cannes, the festival did screen new works from gay directors Todd Haynes and John Cameron Mitchell.
Haynes directs Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore in Wonderstruck, an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s illustrated novel exploring parallel narratives about two hearing-impaired children set 50 years apart. In Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Nicole Kidman stars as an alien touring the galaxy. Kidman previously starred in Mitchell’s 2010 film, Rabbit Hole.
Watch the trailer for 120 Beats per Minute below.