'B.P.M. (Beats Per Minute)'
French director Robin Campillo's epic portrayal of ACT UP's Paris chapter circa the early 1990s isn't afraid to go big: there are protests in Big Pharma offices and performance-art scenes during public lectures, inter-organization factions ideologically duking it out and joyous pride-parade celebrations. That it can also drill down past the sloganeering and get painfully intimate in detailing the romance between an HIV-positive founder (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) and a new recruit to the cause (Arnaud Valois) is the secret to this phenomenal film's success. Both leads give you a guided tour of the way their heated courtship turns into raging against the dying of the light (and against the needless death of millions of infected men). But it's also an ensemble piece par excellence, with members arguing, fighting, flirting, fucking and arguing some more. It's one of the single most humanistic portrayals of the power of activism you will ever see, and that climactic bit in the club – a Dance Dance Revolution literalization when the sound drops out and all you hear is breathing – remains the most thrilling moment we witnessed in 2017.