As the film 120 Beats per Minute shows, queer activism is at its best when it’s angry and combative – and there’s no shortage of causes to help. The film tells the story of a group of Parisian activists in the 1990s who form the French arm of the protest group ACT UP. Consisting of HIV and Aids sufferers and assorted queer folk, the collective takes radical action to remind society of the savage Aids epidemic that predominantly affected gay men, and to campaign for better laws and access to medication. The film underlines divisions between group members who are unsure about whether to be more radically queer and in-yer-face, or whether that belligerence undermines their efforts for recognition. What is unmistakable, however, is a vigour and excitement about the idea of protesting: there is a nostalgia for the concept of marching together, for the camaraderie of hatching plans. The film proposes homosexuality as a vibrant and questioning counterpoint to polite society; its protagonists are young, aware and angry. It could not be more burningly topical.
April 2 / The Guradian