French AIDS drama earns best reviews yet at Cannes

Director Robin Campillo poses for photographers during the photo call for the film 120 Battements par Minute, at the 70th international

Actress Adele Haenel poses for photographers during the photo call for the film 120 Battements par Minute, at the 70th international fi

CANNES, France (AP) — The French AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" has debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and has quickly joined the shortlist of favorites for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or prize.

The film is directed Robin Campillo, the co-screenwriter of the Palme d'Or-winning "The Class." It centers on 1990s activists in Paris during the AIDS crisis.

"120 Beats Per Minute" earned some of the best reviews of the festival so far for its docu-drama retelling of a painful period, combined with a spirited sense of unity for the gay community. Campillo himself was a militant for the cause.

Vanity Fair called the film "a vital new gay classic."

If it were to win the Palme d'Or, it would follow the 2013 winner, the lesbian romance "Blue Is the Warmest Color."