7.3/10
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133 user 102 critic

Before Night Falls (2000)

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, ... See full summary »

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Writers:

, (as Lazaro Gomez Carriles) | 3 more credits »

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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 ...
Reinaldo's Mother (as Olatz Lopez Garmendia)
Giovanni Florido ...
Young Reinaldo (as Giovani Florido)
Loló Navarro ...
Reinaldo's Grandmother
Batan Silva ...
Reinaldo's Father (as Sebastián Silva)
Carmen Beato ...
Teacher
Cy Schnabel ...
Smallest School Child (as Cy)
Olmo Schnabel ...
Smallest School Child
Vito Schnabel ...
Teenage Reinaldo (as Vito Maria Schnabel)
...
Reinaldo's Grandfather (as Pedro Armendáriz)
...
Carlos
...
Lolin
...
...
Professor
Aquiles Benites ...
Translator
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:

cuban | poet | novelist | gay | cuba | See All (101) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 February 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Antes que anochezca  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$85,230 (USA) (29 December 2000)

Gross:

$4,221,817 (USA) (13 April 2001)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 Schnabell, 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.
[...]
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Connections

References Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Fefita
Written by Jose Urfe
Published by Peer International Corp.
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User Reviews

 
Evocative film-making
17 June 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Evocative and moving story based on the life of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas. The film has excellent acting from Javier Bardem (and smaller but equally excellent performances from Johnny Depp and Sean Penn), wonderful scenery and, most of all, powerful and moving snippets from the work of a novelist whose poetic powers can inspire and lift above the poverty of life or bring emotional poignancy to the depths. This is set in a country where, under Castro's rule, there is no "upper class" - and yet where brutal intolerance can be shown to any 'misfits'. Arenas happens to be homosexual, which is unacceptable, and his poetry extols natural beauty (which is, it seems, seen as counter-revolutionary). The writer survives torture and imprisonment but his works survive and the success of his novels prove an inspiration to him as he survives in abject conditions. The film is a bit slow to start, and occasionally meandering, but overall it provides a powerful piece of cinema.


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