Before Night Falls
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Before Night Falls is the story of the writer, novelist, and poet Reinaldo Arenas who was born in a poor rural area of Eastern Cuba. He initially supported the Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959. Arenas moved to La Habana in 1963 and grew interested in writing. In 1966 he published El mundo alucinante (Hallucinations) which received critical acclaim and won honorable mention from the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. Arenas openly gay lifestyle eventually let to trouble and in 1973 he was charged with ideological deviation and sent to jail, but escaped, was rearrested, then imprisoned in El Morro. He was released in 1976 and in 1980 was part of the Mariel Boat lift to the United States. While in New York City Arenas published Cantando en el pozo (Singing From the Well) in 1982, followed by El palacio de la blanqusimas mofetas (Palace of white Skunks) in 1982 and El portero (The Doorman) in 1987. He committed suicide by overdose on December 7, 1990 at age 47. His memoir, Antes que anochezca (Before Night Falls) was published three years later, and is a principal source of this film, produced in 2000. Arenas is played by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, whose performance and Cuban accent are absolutely perfect.


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