7.3/10
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132 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 »

Director:

Writers:

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

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 20 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

The director's wife plays Javier Bardem's mother. All of Schnabel's children have bit roles as well. 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

Los Tamalitos De Olga
Written by Jose A. Fajardo
Performed by Orquesta Aragon
Published by Peer International Corp.
Courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV
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User Reviews

**** 1/2 Stunning
27 March 2001 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Gorgeous adaptation of Reinaldo Arenas' best-selling autobiography of the same name. Javier Bardem gives a towering performance as Arenas, the famous Cuban poet who found himself constantly in a state of being unwanted by the world around him, and yet still full of the ability to see the beauty in it. Using stock footage of Castro's military-ruled Cuba, a haunting score by Carter Burwell (with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson), and many cameos by famous actors (Sean Penn being the only one that really misfires, Michael Wincott being an exceptionally good one), director Julian Schanbel has created one of the most touching, affecting and polished film works of the whole year. Johnny Depp stands out in a small role dressed completely in drag (and he's gorgeous!)


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