This award-winning drama follows the romantic and sexual misadventures of a bisexual, HIV-positive Frenchman as he searches for meaning in his life. Jean (Cyril Collard, who also directed), a successful photographer, dates women but has furtive sex with men on the side. When he meets Samy (Carlos Lopez), an aimless, half-Spanish young rugby player, Jean easily steals him right from under his girlfriend's watchful eyes. Just months after learning that he's HIV-positive, Jean only practices safe sex with his male partners. The same isn't true of his relationship with Laura (Romane Bohringer), an intense 17 year old whose combination of youthful exuberance and world-weary cynicism captivates him. The first night they make love, Jean struggles to warn Laura of his HIV status, but her emotional nakedness and his own confusion prevent him. When he finally does tell her, she's more concerned about living life without him than she is about the danger into which he has put her. Laura's mother (Corine Blue) struggles to steer her daughter toward a more suitable match, especially after Jean stops hiding his liaison with Samy. Vacillating from one extreme and one lover to the other, Jean unwittingly wreaks emotional havoc in Laura's life. Meanwhile, Samy finds himself slowly drawn into Jean's orbit and seems to have no problem with the ambiguity involved. He also dabbles in violent sex and even racist nationalism -- all reactions to his complex, troubled family life. As Laura spins out of control and Samy drifts away, Jean tries to make some sense of his own destructiveness; all the while, his illness progresses. Adapted from director Collard's own novel, Les Nuits Fauves won the filmmaker a French Cesar for Best Debut Director just days after he died of AIDS-related illness.
by Brian J. Dillard synopsis