A taut, passionate docudrama about the lives of the activists in ACT-UP Paris

Most of the action in the film BPM takes place in a college lecture hall at night, full of testy young people sniping at each other about their ideological differences. It sounds unbearable, but instead it's a masterful look at the way communities gather in times of crisis. It's the early 1990s, and the community in question is ACT-UP Paris: a group of radical AIDS activists. Most of them are young, gay, and HIV positive, and many of them don't have time left for diplomacy. Flashing back and forth from meetings to aggressive protests to dance clubs to moments of tenderness and vulnerability between these young firebrands, it's a dizzying and heartrending portrait of a movement.