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 »
A down-on-his-luck American Indian recently released from jail is offered the chance to "star" as the victim of a snuff film, the resulting pay of which could greatly help his poverty ... See full summary »
Mentally challenged Raymond Rourke gets blamed and framed by several kids after they accidentally kill his younger brother Bryce. Six years later, Raymond escapes from the state mental ... See full summary »
Steven Lee Edwards
Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play small clubs. They play schmaltzy music and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are becoming more difficult to ... See full summary »
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
The director's wife plays Javier Bardem's mother. All of Schnabel's children have bit roles as well. See more »
Walking along streets that collapse from crumbling sewers. Past buildings that you jump to avoid because they will fall on you. Past grim faces that size you up and sentence you. Past closed shops, closed markets, closed cinemas, closed parks, closed cafes. Sometimes showing dusty signs, justifcations: "CLOSED FOR RENOVATION," "CLOSED FOR REPAIRS." What kind of repairs? When will these so-called renovations be finished? When at last will they begin? Closed... closed... closed... everything ...
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Bardem Is Great, But Film Itself Left Me in the Cold
It wasn't until "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" that I warmed to the work of Julian Schnabel. Before that there was "Basquiat," which I actively disliked, and then there was "Before Night Falls," which I didn't dislike exactly, but which I also didn't exactly enjoy.
No complaints about the performance of Javier Bardem, before anyone knew who he was, as Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. But the film plays out as so many other biopics do, and it's pretty bleakly depressing by the time it's over. The final scenes, as we watch Arenas slowly disintegrate due to AIDS, are especially tough.
You might need to be a fan either of Schnabel the director or Arenas the poet to fully appreciate this movie. It wouldn't surprise me if everyone else felt somewhat left out in the cold by it.
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