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
Director Julian Schnabel'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, justifications: "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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The UK version is cut by 18 secs to remove a shot of a live bird caught in a noose. See more »
Reinaldo Arenas: Leonardo da Vinci was homosexual, so was Michelangelo, Socrates, Shakespeare, and almost every other figure that has formed what we have come to understand as beauty.
It is fascinating that the socialist government in Cuba would take the same position as right-wing religious leaders in our country. I am sure that James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and others like them would not be happy to know that they are no different than Fidel Castro.
This was the story of the poet Reinaldo Arenas, his mistreatment at the hands of the Cuban government, and his eventual escape to America in the Mariel boat lift; and Javier Bardem (Mar adentro, No Country for Old Men) was magnificent in the role that played almost like a documentary. The film was cinema-graphically brilliant, filmed near Cuba in the Yucatan. The soundtrack was equally impressive.
Besides Bardem, it also featured Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy). Depp played a dual role as Bon Bon, a transvestite and was also Lt. Victor, the head of the prison in which Arenas was incarcerated. I am continually amazed at Depp's versatility.
An outstanding Latino cast in a super film.
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