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Before Night Falls (2000)

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2:16 | Trailer
The life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas.

Director:

Julian Schnabel

Writers:

Cunningham O'Keefe, Lázaro Gómez Carriles (as Lazaro Gomez Carriles) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olatz López Garmendia Olatz López Garmendia ... Reinaldo's Mother (as Olatz Lopez Garmendia)
Giovani Florido ... Young Reinaldo
Loló Navarro Loló Navarro ... Reinaldo's Grandmother
Batan Silva ... Reinaldo's Father (as Sebastián Silva)
Carmen Beato Carmen Beato ... Teacher
Cy Schnabel Cy Schnabel ... Smallest School Child (as Cy)
Olmo Schnabel Olmo Schnabel ... Smallest School Child
Vito Schnabel ... Teenage Reinaldo (as Vito Maria Schnabel)
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Reinaldo's Grandfather (as Pedro Armendáriz)
Diego Luna ... Carlos
Lia Chapman ... Lolin
Sean Penn ... Cuco Sanchez
Jerzy Skolimowski ... Professor
Aquiles Benites Aquiles Benites ... Translator
Ewa Piaskowska Ewa Piaskowska ... Pretty Blonde Student
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Storyline

Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), from his childhood in Oriente province to his death in New York City. He joins Castro's rebels. By 1964, he is in Havana. He meets the wealthy Pepe, an early lover; a love-hate relationship lasts for years. Openly gay behavior is a way to spite the government. His writing and homosexuality get him into trouble: he spends two years in prison, writing letters for other inmates and smuggling out a novel. He befriends Lázaro Gomes Garriles, with whom he lives stateless and in poverty in Manhattan after leaving Cuba in the Mariel boat-lift. When asked why he writes, he replies cheerfully, "Revenge." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poet | novelist | gay | homosexual | cuba | See All (100) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, some language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

New Line

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Russian | French

Release Date:

23 February 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Antes que anochezca See more »

Filming Locations:

Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$85,230, 25 December 2000

Gross USA:

$4,242,892

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,601,053
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Olivier Martinez's first English-speaking role. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino were offered the role of great Cuban man of letters Lezama Lima. The part was finally played by a friend of Julian Schnabel, who was the Global Art Executive of the David Rockefeller-founded Chase Bank Art Collection. See more »

Quotes

Reinaldo Arenas: What do you want?
Cuban Police Officer: What do I want... First of all, I want Carlos to frisk this guy.
Reinaldo Arenas: But he's not even dressed.
Police Officer: What's your name?
Reinaldo Arenas: My name? Franz Kafka.
Police Officer: Hm. You think I am ignorant?
[Reinaldo shakes his head]
Police Officer: Have any of you ever heard of a Camp called La Isla de Joventud?
[Everyone declines]
Police Officer: Then maybe you can tell me, when's the last time you took it up your ass.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version is cut by 18 secs to remove a shot of a live bird caught in a noose. See more »


Soundtracks

El Que Siembra Su Maiz
Written by Miguel Matamoros
Performed by Trio Matamoros
Published by Peer International Corp.
Courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV
See more »

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User Reviews

The short life and times of Reinaldo Arenas.
15 December 2000 | by scrutinySee all my reviews

Julian Schnabel's second effort after his masterful Basquiat is another portrait of a fallen artist struck down in his prime but instead of the world of art, we journey into the realm of literature. Reinaldo Arenas is mostly unheard of in this country but this film's greatest asset will be to encourage people to seek out his work in order to, on some tangential level, gain access to the man. As with his earlier effort, Schnabel mixes his painterly past with the auspices of the biopic to create one of the most fascinating portraits of a writer put to film. I was privileged to see this film during the last New York Film Festival and this film although linear in telling, following Reinaldo from practically cradle to grave, we are presented with expressionistic episodes of his life as he becomes initiated to sex, finds his calling when he proves adept at writing, and his most important and ironically fatal decision to engage in homosexual liaisons at a time and place where the practice was looked down upon and ultimately his work and life suffered for it. Never demeaning or lurid, Reinaldo's life is looked upon with a untarnished and honest eye where his rich prose overcame his meager surroundings. A remarkable achievement on every level from the use of archival footage integrated into the narrative to the use of an up to the minute soundtrack (the beautiful Lou Reed/Laurie Anderson cello track `Rouge' during a Cuban club scene) in a period piece, Before Night Falls is one of the best films of the year.


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