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Before Night Falls (2000)

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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 »



, (as Lazaro Gomez Carriles) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ...
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)
Aquiles Benites ...
Ewa Piaskowska ...
Pretty Blonde Student


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:



Official Sites:



| | |

Release Date:

23 February 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Antes que anochezca  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


Reinaldo Arenas: My name, for the moment, is Reinaldo Arenas.
See more »


Featured in The 2001 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2001) See more »


Surrounding The Casbah
from The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Performed by Ennio Morricone
Written by Ennio Morricone, Gillo Pontecorvo
Published by C.A.M. S.r.l. / BMG
Courtesy of BMG Ricordi S.p.A.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best movies I have seen
21 February 2001 | by (Amsterdam,The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This is simply a good movie. After seeing it I wanted to read more of Arenas' writing and wanted to know more about him.

The film focus on some milestones in Arenas' life and through him tells the story of the Cuban revolution. Arenas was a huge supporter of the revolution and truly believed that through it he can have more freedom and his fate and disillusion with it is somewhat tragic.

The film use a realistic approach to its subject matter and use to its advantage footage from the archive. Schnabel's direction is restrain and give the film its power. Javier Bardem is superb as Arenas and his Oscar nomination is well deserved,though it is shame his chance of winning is close to zero. He carries the film on his shoulders and make you care of what happens to Arenas. Supporting actors are also good and help the film very much.

Just go and see this film.It is powerful.It convey its message well and it is one of the best film I have seen in long time

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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