The Orchard has picked U.S. distribution rights to BPM (Beats Per Minute), a French drama that focuses on AIDS activists in the 1990s. The acquisition comes on the heels of the film’s world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where the film is playing in competition. Early reviews for the film have been uniformly positive, with some on the ground speculating the film could emerge as a top prize winner at the prestigious film festival. Variety was the first to report the acquisition.
Robin Campillo, who previously helmed Eastern Boys (2013) and co-wrote internationally heralded films as Time Out (2001) and the Palme d’Or winning The Class (2008) – the latter of which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film – directed and wrote the film. The deal with The Orchard comes just as BPM (Beats Per Minute) has scored acquisition deals around the world, surely thanks to the numerous acclaim the film has received in Cannes. The hopes for the title are that it can transcend the niche market of LGBT-centered movies and reach a broad audience.
The synopsis reads: “Early 1990s. With AIDS having already claimed countless lives for nearly ten years, Act up-Paris activists multiply actions to fight general indifference. Nathan (Arnaud Valois), a newcomer to the group, has his world shaken up by Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a radical militant, who throws his last bits of strength into the struggle.”
The early reviews signal something special. In his review for Variety, Guy Lodge wrote: “Robin Campillo’s outstanding AIDS activist drama melds the personal, the political and the erotic to heart-bursting effect,” while The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw raved, “The movie compellingly combines elegy, tragedy, urgency and a defiant euphoria.” A.A. Dowd’s positive review in over at AV Club wrote: “The film blends the political and the heart-wrenchingly personal over its own 140 minutes, and its vision of impassioned, boots-on-ground activism certainly resonates during our charged political now.” While Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson called the film “a vital new gay classic.”
This marks the third Cannes deal for The Orchard as the distributor also recently acquired the LA riots drama Kings, which stars Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, as well as Under the Eiffel Tower. The indie company is looking to release BPM (Beats Per Minute) stateside sometime later this year.