Updated on March 24, 2023 at 2:04 p.m.
If the seventh art knows how to make us dream, it also knows how to bring us back down to earth by bringing sad realities to the screen. Discovered at the very beginning of the 1980s, AIDS is one of the great scourges of our society. This disease, which spreads on a global scale, frightens by its unknown and elusive nature. 1er December 1988, World AIDS Day was created under the auspices of the WHO (World Health Organization). The following year, there were more than 150,000 cases worldwide. Today, the number of people living with HIV is estimated at 38.4 million (end of 2021 figure according to Sida info service). Dizzying figures which today, more than ever, make you want to fight.
Necessary films on AIDS
A true means of expression and a witness to our society, the cinema takes hold of the AIDS disease, although it takes a few years to see it stage stories as powerful as they are moving. The goal? Raising awareness and educating the public, breaking taboos and overcoming misconceptions around HIV. And fortunately, such films exist. We then remember the very beautiful feature film, winner of four César, “Les nuits fauves” (1992) by Cyril Collard – who died the following year of the virus – with Romane Bohringer. Then the true story told in “Philadelphia” (1993), directed by Jonathan Demme, carried by two big names, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. An unforgettable cinematographic work that earned its main actor an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Two poignant films that leave viewers groggy with emotions.
If the disease of AIDS is undoubtedly a heavy and painful subject, several feature films have decided to approach it by wrapping it in a story that is lighter than dramatic, like “I Love You Philipp Morris” which tells the true story of crook Steven Jay Russell, desperate to never be separated from the man of his life. Or “My life with Liberace” (2013) by Steven Soderbergh with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
In 2017, “120 beats per minute”, directed by Robin Campillo, made a remarkable entrance at the Cannes Film Festival. A heartbreaking film that recounts the first years of the Act Up Paris association and more particularly the fights led by two of its activists, Nathan and Sean. After winning the Grand Prize at the Festival, the feature film swept up everything in its path and won no less than six Césars. Undisputed proof of his eloquence.
So even if the fight against the disease of AIDS is not confined to a few days a year, let’s take the opportunity to (re)discover these feature films which have claimed this terrible disease to highlight the beauty of a fight of a lifetime. Films that are still necessary today.