Archive of films Before Night Falls / Before Night Falls

2000, 125 min

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Year: 2001


This second film from acclaimed American artist Julian Schnabel is based on the book of the same name by Cuban poet and writer Reinaldo Arenas, and is drawn from his own life. Arenas was born in the Cuban province of Oriente in 1943 and died in New York exile in 1990. After growing up poor but free as a child, he became a revolutionary at age 14. At 20 he received a national award for his first novel Celestino before Dawn. Further works, however, were published by friends abroad because the Castro regime began to harass him for his homosexuality; indeed, he was imprisoned in 1973 and his books were confiscated. In 1980 Castro allowed homosexuals, the insane and former political prisoners to emigrate. Arenas was one of 125,000 people who took advantage of this opportunity. But not even in the United States did he find the paradise he dreamed of.

About the director

Julian Schnabel (b.1951, New York) graduated in fine arts at university in Houston, and had his first one-man show in 1979 at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York. Since then his paintings and sculptures have been exhibited around the world and are part of private collections and the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbau, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London and other prestigious art galleries. After making Basquiat (1996), a film dealing with New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (screened in the competition at the Venice IFF), he returned to film with Before Night Falls (2000), awarded the Grand Prix at the 54th Venice IFF and the Volpi Cup for Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Reinaldo Arenas.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Director: Julian Schnabel
Screenplay: Cunningham O´ Keefe, Lazaro Gomez Carriles, Julian Schnabel
Dir. of Photography: Xavier Perez Grobet, Guillermo Rosas
Music: Carter Burwell
Editor: Michael Berenbaum
Producer: Jon Kilik
Production: El Mar Pictures/Grandview Pictures Release
Cast: Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Michael Wincott, Pedro Armendáriz, Hector Babenco, Olatz Lopez Garmendia, Jerzy Skolimowski

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