AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Before Night Falls
Director: Julian Schnabel (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Jan 2001
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Venice, Italy: 3 Sep 2000; New York Film Festival opening: 6 Oct 2000; Los Angeles opening: 22 Dec 2000
Production Date:   1999
Duration (in mins):   133
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Cast: In order of appearance Olatz Lopez Garmendia (Reinaldo's mother)  
    Giovani Florido (Young Reinaldo)  
    Loló Navarro (Reinaldo's grandmother)  
    Sebastián Silva (Reinaldo's father)  
    Carmen Beato (Teacher)  
    Cy Schnabel (Smallest school child)  
    Olmo Schnabel (Smallest school child)  
    Vito Maria Schnabel (Teenage Reinaldo)  
    Pedro Almendariz (Reinaldo's grandfather)  
    Diego Luna (Carlos)  
    Lia Chapman (Lolin)  
    Sean Penn (Cuco Sanchez)  
    Jerzy Skolimowski (Professor)  
    Aquiles Benites (Translator)  
    Eva Piaskowska (Pretty blonde student)  
    Javier Bardem (Reinaldo Arenas)  
    Patricia Reyes Spíndola (María Teresa Freye de Andrade)  
    Michael Wincott (Herberto Zorilla Ochoa)  
    Hector Babenco (Virgilio Piñera)  
    Andrea Di Stefano (Pepe Malas)  
    Marlene Díaz (Woman in car #1)  
    Olga Borayo (Woman in car #2)  
    Santiago Magill (Tomas Diego)  
    Manolo García (Faustino)  
    Lola Schnabel (Girl with keys)  
    Ofelia Medina (Landlady)  
    Lois Barragan (Woman, UNEAC)  
    Eduardo Antonio (Nightclub singer)  
    Stella Schnabel (Valeria)  
    Olivier Martinez (Lázaro Gómez Carriles)  
    Manuel González (José Lezama Lima)  
    Maurice Compte (Nicolas Abreu)  
    Claudette Maillé (María Luisa Lima)  
    John Ortiz (Juan Abreu)  
    Vincent Laresca (Jose Abreu)  
    Rene Rivera (Recruit driver)  
    Chanel Puertas (Blonde on the beach)  
    Manolo Rivero (Royal gay)  
    Nemo (Pedro the bus driver)  
    Andrea Fassler (French tourist)  
    Magda (Santería dancer)  
    Julian Bucio (Violent soldier)  
    Jorge Zaráte (Prosecutor)  
    Najwa Nimri (Fina Zorilla Ochoa)  
    Francisco Gatorno (Jorge Camacho)  
    Marisol Padilla Sanchez (Margarita Camacho)  
    Jorge Zamora (Kid with kite)  
    Noel Medina (Policeman on beach)  
    Jorge Zepeda (State security on beach)  
    Julyan Diaz (Teenager #1)  
    Eduardo Arroyuelo (Teenager #2)  
    Antonio Zavala (Stranger in Lenin Park)  
    Eloy Ganuza (State security in Lenin Park)  
    Khotan (Young man with bird)  
    Rene Pereira (Antonio)  
    Abel Woolrich (Hungry inmate)  
    Mario Oliver (Gay inmate)  
    Robertico Valdez (Singing prisoner)  
    Johnny Depp (Bon Bon/Lieutenant Victor)  
    Claudio Osoria (Guard at El Morro)  
    Alfredo Villa (Armando Garcia)  
    Diahnne Dèa (Blanca Romero)  
    Caridad Martinez (Dancer in the convent)  
    Zulema Cruz (Zulema)  
    Annie Gil (Blanca's teenage daughter)  
    Filiberto Estrella (Dwarf)  
    Juan Cristobal Murillo (Immigration officer)  
    Filiberto Hebra (Man at Mariel Harbor)  
    Matthías Ehrenberg (Officer at Mariel Harbor)  
    Jack Schnabel (Mr. Greenberg)  
    Esther Schanbel (Mrs. Greenberg)  
    Xavier Domingo (Death)  
    Eric Springer (Orderly)  
    Jimmy Nugent (Taxi driver)  

Summary: In 1943, three-month-old Reinaldo Arenas, abandoned by his father, is taken by his mother to her parents’ home in Cuba’s Oriente province. As a young boy, Reinaldo lives a life of “absolute poverty and freedom,” and develops a love of nature, especially the trees, which he believes have a secret life, and the rain, which envelops the countryside. One day, Reinaldo is approached by a handsome stranger, who gives him two pesos, and when his mother throws rocks at the man, Reinaldo deduces that he is his father. Reinaldo never sees his father again and continues living with his taciturn grandfather, powerful grandmother and unhappy aunts. At school, Reinaldo shows a great gift for poetry, and even carves poems into the trees on his family’s farm. When his teacher informs his grandfather of Reinaldo’s talents, the infuriated old man chops down one of Reinaldo’s trees and moves the family to the town of Holguín, where he opens a grocery store. In 1958, Reinaldo and his best friend Carlos decide to run away from home and join Fidel Castro’s guerrillas in their attempt to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista. Before they leave, Carlos dares Reinaldo have sex with prostitute Lolin, but only by thinking of Carlos is Reinaldo able to perform. Later that night, Reinaldo runs away, but Carlos is too afraid to join him. Alone, Reinaldo walks along a country road until the next day, when he is picked up by a peasant named Cuco Sanchez. When Reinaldo admits that he is going to Velasco to join the rebels, Sanchez tells him that the guerrillas are no longer there and orders him to return home. After Castro gains control of Cuba, the peasants believe that life will soon be better for everyone. By 1964, Reinaldo has moved to Havana and begun studying at a state-run college for agricultural accountants. Reinaldo has not forgotten his love of writing, however, and when he enters the National Library’s Young Writer’s Contest, a moving excerpt from his novel in progress convinces librarian María Teresa Freye de Andrade and influential writers Herbeto Zorilla Ochoa and Virgilio Piñera to hire him to work at the library. Reinaldo is thrilled to be surrounded by so many books, and one day after work, meets the charismatic Pepe Malas. Although Reinaldo is aware of his own homosexuality, he at first repulses the bisexual Pepe’s advances, but soon falls in love with him. Pepe finds Reinaldo an old typewriter and a small apartment, and Reinaldo devotes himself to finishing his first novel, Celestina antes del alba ( Singing from the Well ). Reinaldo submits his manuscript to the writers’ union contest, then spends an evening out with Pepe. Reinaldo is deeply hurt when Pepe ignores him to pursue a woman, and leaves to spend the night with another friend, Tomas Diego. Shortly after, Reinaldo is reading on a beach when he is approached by a swimmer, Lázaro Gómez Carriles, although the stunningly handsome young man violently rejects Reinaldo’s advances. Reinaldo is cheered, however, when his novel wins honorable mention in the contest, and he is introduced to renowned writer José Lezama Lima. Believing in Reinaldo’s talent, Piñera helps him to edit his book and soon it is published in Cuba to great acclaim. As the 1960s continue, Reinaldo and his friends, including the Abreu brothers, enjoy the sexual revolution that young people throughout Cuba are participating in despite the political repression of Castro’s government. Eventually Reinaldo and his friends begin to see sex as a weapon with which to fight the regime that persecutes homosexuals, artists and intellectuals, although not all of their compatriots can withstand the pressure. After Zorilla Ochoa is arrested and forced to make a televised confession, renouncing his friends and his writings, his wife commits suicide, and Reinaldo himself experiences more persecution. Lezama Lima arranges for Reinaldo to meet his friends, Jorge and Margarita Camacho, who are soon to return to France after visiting Cuba. The Camachos, fans of Reinaldo’s writing, agree to smuggle out his next book, El mundo alucinante ( Hallucinations ), which he has been unable to publish in Cuba. Later, on 26 October 1974, Reinaldo and Pepe lounge on the beach with two young men in their late teens, and after Pepe has a temper tantrum that distracts Reinaldo, the two youths steal Reinaldo’s swim fins. Reinaldo reports the theft and is horrified when the thieves accuse him of molesting them. Reinaldo is jailed but takes advantage of the loose security to slip out an unlocked door. He then attempts to swim to Florida in an inner tube, but fails, and slashes his wrists in a deserted beach house. After he recovers from his unsuccessful suicide attempt, Reinaldo hides in Havana’s Lenin Park, and is aided by his friend, Juan Abreu, who brings him food and money. Reinaldo is captured eventually and taken to the notorious El Morro Castle prison, where he is incarcerated not as a political prisoner but a suspected rapist, murderer and CIA agent. Reinaldo’s reputation as a writer spreads throughout the prison, however, and soon he amasses a fortune in cigarettes by writing letters for other inmates. Using his cigarettes to buy paper and pencils, Reinaldo completes another novel and befriends Bon Bon, a glamorous transvestite, who smuggles the manuscript out of the prison by hiding it in his rectum and passing it to visitors. Reinaldo’s scheme is uncovered, however, and he is punished by being held in a tiny, filthy cell without any contact. When he is dragged out, Reinaldo is taken to see Lt. Victor, and although Reinaldo distracts himself by fantasizing about the attractive officer, Victor terrorizes him into making a confession renouncing his former life. After his release, Reinaldo goes to live with Blanca Romero, a friend, and helps her to sell off the contents of a walled-up convent next to her apartment building. At Blanca’s, Reinaldo again meets Lázaro and the two become devoted friends. Some of Blanca’s compatriots scheme to escape Cuba in a hot-air balloon, but the balloon is stolen by Pepe, who dies when it crashes to the ground. Later, in 1980, after Lázaro is able to leave Cuba in an exodus of people claiming asylum at the Peruvian embassy, Reinaldo learns that Castro has agreed to let criminals, homosexuals and the mentally insane leave Cuba. Soon Reinaldo and Lázaro are reunited in New York, where they are overwhelmed with happiness at their freedom. Reinaldo continues to write but remains poor despite receiving critical acclaim, and when he falls ill with AIDS, cannot receive proper medical attention because he does not have insurance. Unable to continue working, Reinaldo decides to kill himself, and after telling Lázaro that he is the most “authentic” boy he has ever met, makes him promise that he will not awaken in a hospital. Lázaro reluctantly agrees, and after Reinaldo falls asleep from an overdose of pills, his loyal friend smothers him with a plastic bag. 

Production Company: Grandview Pictures  
Production Text: A Film by Julian Schnabel
Distribution Company: Fine Line Features (An AOL Time Warner Company)
Director: Julian Schnabel (Dir)
  Sebastián Silva (Asst dir)
  Joaquín Silva (Key 2d asst dir)
  Amy Lynn (Key 2d asst dir, New York)
  Giselle Gurza (2d 2d asst dir)
  Yvette Gurza (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Jon Kilik (Pres)
  Julian Schnabel (Exec prod)
  Olatz Lopez Garmendia (Exec prod)
  Jon Kilik (Prod)
  Matthías Ehrenberg (Assoc prod)
Writer: Cunningham O'Keefe (Wrt)
  Lázaro Gómez Carriles (Wrt)
  Julian Schnabel (Wrt)
Photography: Xavier Pérez Grobet (Dir of photog)
  Guillermo Rosas (Dir of photog)
  Mauricio Rubinstein (Addl photog)
  Wayne Paul (Cam op, New York)
  Sergio García Terrazas (1st asst cam)
  Ralph Brandafino (1st asst cam, New York)
  Luis Sansans A. (2d asst cam/Steadicam op)
  David Baron (2d asst cam, New York)
  Eliseo Orozco Luna (Film loader)
  Scott Maguire (Loader, New York)
  Fernando Peralta (Cam asst)
  Daniel Peña (Cam asst)
  Marco Polo Constandze (Video assist op)
  Danny Salk (Video assist op, New York)
  Esteban Terrones (Asst video assist)
  Daniel Daza Gómez (Stills photog)
  K. C. Bailey (Stills photog, New York)
  Eniac Martínez (Addl still photog)
  Javier Enríquez (Gaffer)
  Andy Day (Gaffer, New York)
  Miguel Angel García (Best boy)
  Mike Reed (Best boy, New York)
  Raúl Palacios (Elec)
  Juan Manuel Alvarez (Elec)
  Roberto Oviedo (Elec)
  Edgar Ambriz (Elec)
  José de Jesús Macías (Asst elec)
  Antonio Huerta (Asst elec)
  Luis Antonio Alegría (Asst elec)
  Mike Fradianni (Company elec, New York)
  Mike Hunold (Company elec, New York)
  Nicholas Cupkovic (Company elec, New York)
  Joseph Quirk (Company elec, New York)
  Glenn Blachnik (Company elec, New York)
  Humberto Delgado (Key grip)
  David F. Lowry (Key grip, New York)
  John T. Bobick (2d grip, New York)
  Miguel Angel Sánchez (Dolly grip)
  Joseph Donohue III (Dolly grip, New York)
  Fernando Coria (Company grip)
  Pedro Hernández (Company grip)
  Adrián Romero Ramírez (Company grip)
  Roberto Oviedo (Company grip)
  Jerry Lowry (Company grip, New York)
  Johnny Santiago (Company grip, New York)
  Melvin Noped (Company grip, New York)
  Martin Lowry (Company grip, New York)
  Gerard Lowry (Company grip, New York)
  Joshua Winguard (Company grip, New York)
  Louis Sabot (Company grip, New York)
  Benjamin J. Winguard (Company grip, New York)
  Jesús Rojas Juáre (Generator op)
  Pedro Reyes (Generator op)
  Rocco Palmieri (Generator op, New York)
  TechnoCrane (Cam crane)
Art Direction: Salvador Parra (Prod des)
  Antonio Muñohierro (Art dir)
  Andy Bernard (Art dir, New York)
  Juan Pablo García Tames (Set des)
  Jorge Sainz (Drafting)
  Heidi Villalobos Maya (Drafting)
  Federico Nava Patiño (Const coord)
  Gordon Krause (Const coord, New York)
  Maite Argüelles (Art dept coord)
  Gabriel Tapia Ramírez (Asst art dept coord)
  Rodolfo Granados (Sculpture)
  Tatiana Valdéz (Mural painter)
  Dennis Horwath Vázquez (Sign painter)
  Pedro Alanís (Paint foreman)
  Adán García (On set painter)
  Pedro Neri Martínez (Greens foreman)
  Fernando López Urquijo (Greens asst)
  Diana Subirats Alfonso (Art dept consultant)
  Robert A. Vaccariello (Const carpenter, New York)
  Jonathan Graham (Const grip, New York)
  Anne Haywood (Const scenic, New York)
Film Editor: Michael Berenbaum (Ed)
  Kelley Cribben (Post prod supv, New York)
  Craig Cobb (Assoc ed, New York)
  Chris Patterson (Asst ed, New York)
Set Decoration: Sandra Cabriada Morales (Set dec)
  Paula Caso Serran (Set dec)
  Laurie Freedman (Set dec, New York)
  Darío Ramos (Asst to set dec)
  Rogelio Nobara Tamura (Asst to set dec)
  Susan Goulder (Asst set dec, New York)
  Tomás Rodríguez Tovar (Leadman)
  Israel Becerril (Leadman)
  Phil Canfield (Leadman, New York)
  Mirko Von Berner (On set dec)
  Héctor Gil (On set dresser)
  Christopher Lagunes Villavencio (Set dresser)
  Luis Figueroa (Set dresser)
  César Jiménez Rodríguez (Set dresser)
  Celso Peña (Prop master)
  Jeff Mazzola (Prop master, New York)
  Jorge Rodríguez Barajas (Asst to prop master)
  Oscar Tapia (Asst to prop master)
  Walter Adee (2d prop, New York)
  Deborah Canfield (Swing gang, New York)
  T. Kelly Canfield (Swing gang, New York)
  Patrice Canfield Longo (Swing gang, New York)
  Wayne T. Leonard (Swing gang, New York)
  Robert H. Klatt (Swing gang, New York)
Costumes: Mariestela Fernández (Cost des)
  Gabriela Fernández Suárez (Ward coordinator)
  Mark Burchard (Ward supv, New York)
  Chuck Casey (Ward supv, New York)
  Adela Cortázar (Key ward asst)
  Guadalupe Peckinpah (Key ward asst)
  Adolfo Cruz Martínez (Ward asst)
  María de Jesús Luna (Ward asst)
  Zeferino Gutiérrez Hernández (Ward asst)
  Carlos Munguía (Ward asst)
  Autumn Saville (Ward shopper/PA, New York)
Music: Carter Burwell (Mus comp)
  Lou Reed (Addl mus)
  Laurie Anderson (Addl mus)
  Olatz Lopez Garmendia (Mus supv)
  Susan Jacobs (Mus supv)
  Todd Kasow (Mus ed, New York)
  Steve Kasow (Asst mus ed, New York)
  The Body and National Edison Studios, New York City (Mus rec at)
  Michael Farrow (Mus scoring mixer)
  Sandra Park (Mus contractor)
  Dean Parker (Copyist)
Sound: Bob Hein (Supv sd ed, New York)
  Christian Wangler (Sd mixer)
  Allan Byer (Sd mixer, New York)
  Felipe Zavala (Boom op)
  Alfredo Biteri (Boom op, New York)
  Betsy Nagler (Boom op, New York)
  Glenn Mazzilo (Boom op, New York)
  Guillermo Bermúdez (Cable man)
  Sylvia Menno (Dial ed, New York)
  Kenton Jakub (ADR ed, New York)
  Marissa Littlefield (ADR ed, New York)
  Kam Chan (Foley ed, New York)
  Frank Kern (Foley ed, New York)
  David Wahnon (Asst sd ed, New York)
  Alex Soto (Transfer asst, New York)
  C-5, Inc. (Sd services provided by)
  Robert Fernandez (Re-rec mixer, New York)
  Steven Simons (Addl mixing, New York)
  Sound One Corp. (Re-rec at)
  Geof Lipman (Dolby sd consultant)
Special Effects: Alejandro Vázques Effeccine (Spec eff coord)
  Lázaro Cervantes Aguilar (Spec eff asst)
  Gregorio Vega (Spec eff asst)
  Albert Lasser (F/X ed, New York)
  Janos Pilenyi (Optical supv)
  Ariel Saulog (Digital supv)
  Borys Jarymovych (Des)
  Randall Balsmeyer (Visual eff supv)
  Balsmeyer & Everett, Inc. (Digital visual eff)
  Cineric Inc. (Titles and opticals)
  Titra California (Subtitles)
Dance: Caridad Martínez Menocal (Choreographer)
Make Up: Ana Lozano (Key makeup)
  Kerric R. Plant (Makeup artist, New York)
  Sandra López (Asst makeup)
  Manolo García (Key hair)
  Virginia Campos Ch. (Hairstylist)
  Judi Goodman (Hairdresser, New York)
  Consuelo Ramos (Asst makeup and hair)
Production Misc: Sylvie Chesneau (Scr supv)
  Melanio Filiberto Hebra (Consultant)
  Matthías Ehrenberg (Unit prod mgr)
  Jon Kilik (Unit prod mgr, New York)
  Mike Phillips (Prod supv)
  Diego Sandoval (Loc mgr)
  Lys Hopper (Loc mgr, New York)
  Pedro Sandoval (Asst loc mgr)
  Jonathan Silver (Asst loc mgr, New York)
  Roberto Lopez (Loc asst, New York)
  Pamela Jaeckle (Unit mgr, U.S.)
  Dante Aguilar (Unit mgr, Mexico)
  Gloria "Pekas" Lozano (Prod coord, Mexico)
  Robyn J. Davis (Prod coord, U.S.)
  Susana Loyo (Prod secy)
  Monica Nordhaus (Asst to Mr. Schnabel, New York)
  Gwenn Williams (Asst to Mr. Schnabel, New York)
  Keri Bruno (Asst to Mr. Schnabel, Mexico)
  Luis Ruíz (Prod asst)
  Alejandro Iturriaga (Prod asst)
  Jonás Hendrix (Prod asst)
  Martin Corkidi (Prod asst)
  Adrián Cervantes (Prod asst)
  Rafael Pérez (Prod asst)
  Monica Nordhaus (Casting dir, New York)
  Patricia Reyes Spíndola (Casting dir, Mexico)
  Claudia Becker (Casting dir, Mexico)
  Jorge Guerrero (Extras cast coordinator)
  Pablo García (Extras cast asst)
  Jessica Ruíz (Extras cast asst)
  Byron Crystal (Extras casting, New York)
  Melanio Filiberto Hebra (Dial coach)
  Ariel García Espinosa Raymat (Dial coach)
  Armando Suárez-Cobián (Dial coach)
  Dra. Evangelina Resendiz (Unit doctor)
  Juana Bocanegra Colín (ANDA delegate)
  Raúl García Esquivel (Picture cars coord)
  Mario Alberto Aguilar (Picture cars asst)
  Rodrigo de la Cruz (Picture cars asst)
  Francisco Paredes (Picture cars asst)
  Giselle Gurza (1st team coord, New York)
  Alex Wei (Asst prod office coord, New York)
  Michael Kingsley (Office prod asst, New York)
  Johan Esbensen (Office prod asst, New York)
  Michael G. Mooradian (Office prod asst, New York)
  Dennis Bastian (Office prod asst, New York)
  Michelle Macirella (Office prod asst, New York)
  David F. Bianculli (Office prod asst, New York)
  Paul Polow (Set prod asst, New York)
  L. A. Carton IV (Set prod asst, New York)
  Jeremy Rizzi (Set prod asst, New York)
  Liza Bigger (Set prod asst, New York)
  Jill Fassalori (Set prod asst, New York)
  Jacqueline Campbell (Set prod asst, New York)
  Joe Cortese (Set prod asst, New York)
  Sean Alexander (Set prod asst, New York)
  Lauren Klain (Set prod asst, New York)
  Pedro J. Pena (Set prod asst, New York)
  Joe Violante (Dailies adv)
  Isabel Martínez (Prod accountant)
  John Finn (Prod accountant, New York)
  Flavio Castilleros (1st asst accountant)
  Sean Hogan (1st asst accountant, New York)
  Hortensia Castro (2d asst accountant)
  Josh Schneider (2d asst accountant, New York)
  Estéban Pérez López (Talent payments)
  Entertainment Partners (Payroll, New York)
  Alejandro Arroyo Labra (Transportation capt)
  Jimmy Nugent (Transportation capt, New York)
  Juan Manuel Moreno Morales (Transportation coord)
  José Cruz Garduño (Driver)
  José de Jesús Macías (Driver)
  Braulio Piedra González (Driver)
  José Tapia Cruz (Driver)
  Efraín Alfaro Ramírez (Driver)
  Ernesto Avila Gutiérrez (Driver)
  Francisco Moreno Morales (Driver)
  Eduardo Marquez Acevedo (Driver)
  Angel Ruíz Téllez (Driver)
  Enrique Cetina Burgos (Driver)
  Tomás Tapia Cruz (Driver)
  Humberto Herrera Rodríguez (Driver)
  Gustavo Vallejo Navarrete (Driver)
  René Velasquez Vasquez (Driver)
  Jimmy Clark (Driver, New York)
  Regis J. Mullaney (Driver, New York)
  Juan Bryan (Driver, New York)
  John J. Buckmad (Driver, New York)
  Joe Cazan (Driver, New York)
  Thomas Pinto (Driver, New York)
  David J. Conelli (Driver, New York)
  Thomas J. Seccananie III (Driver, New York)
  Willie Speranza (Driver, New York)
  Kevin J. Smith (Driver, New York)
  Presendieu Jean Edouard (Driver, New York)
  John J. Vanderlinden (Driver, New York)
  James F. Kelly (Driver, New York)
  Danny Yannantuono (Driver, New York)
  Anthony Lettich (Driver, New York)
  Richard Guterding (Driver, New York)
  John McNay (Driver, New York)
  Joseph B. Stapleton (Driver, New York)
  José Tejada (Parking coord, New York)
  Juan De La Rosa (Parking asst, New York)
  Ana Ballesteros (Caterer)
  Coast to Coast Caterers, Inc. (Catering, New York)
  Ofelia Flores Cárdenas (Catering asst)
  David García Hernández (Catering asst)
  Héctor Pérez (Catering asst)
  Alfredo Aguilar (Catering asst)
  Rubén Rosales Roldán (Catering asst)
  Fernando Solis (Catering asst)
  Josefina Hernández (Catering asst)
  Azucena Tiburcio (Catering asst)
  Dawn Wolf (Craft service, New York)
  Joe Dapello, Schreck Rose & Dapello (Prod attorney, New York)
  Eric Shonz (Insurance services, New York)
  Joanie Bauert (Insurance services, New York)
  Great Northern Brokerage (Insurance services, New York)
Stand In: Julián Bucio (Stunts)
  Eduardo Téllez Cisnero (Utility stand-in)
  Rafael Reyes (Utility stand-in)
Color Personnel: Fred Heid (Col timer)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: “Aguirre, der zorn gottes (Lacrime di re)” written by Florian Fricke, performed by Popol Vuh, published by Edition Intro Meisel, courtesy of Gammarock Music; “Crisantemo” written by Ernesto Lecuona, performed by Ernesto Lecuona, published by Edward B Marks Music Company, courtesy of Hortensia Records; “Surrounding the Casbah” written by Ennio Morricone and Gillo Pontecorvo, performed by Ennio Morricone, published by C.A.M. S.r.l./BMG Courtesy of BMG Ricordi S.p.A.; “En el Olvido” written by Juan José Espinosa, published by Peer International Corp.; “Fefita,” by Gonzales Urfe, published by Termidor Music Publishers, Ltd.; “Mujer perjura” written by Antonio Escobar, published by Peer International Corp.; “Adagietto, sehr langsam” from Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler, performed by Berliner Philaharmoniker, courtesy of Universal International Music, B.V. under license from Universal Music Enterprises.
Songs: “El que siembra su maiz,” “Tu veras” and “El trio y el ciclon,” written by Miguel Matamoros, performed by Trio Matamoros, published by Peer International Corp., courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV; “El tumbaito,” written by Faustino Miro and José Delgado, performed by Guayabero, published by Peer International Corp., courtesy of Hortensia Records; “Ay mariposa,” written by Pedro Ferrez Valiente, performed by Pedro Ferrez Valiente, published by Termidor Music Publishers Ltd.; “Baton Rouge,” written by Lou Reed, performed by Lou Reed, published by EMI Blackwood Music Inc./Lou Reed Music, courtesy of Reprise Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products; “Loop Vamp,” written by Laurie Anderson, performed by Laurie Anderson, published by Difficult Music, courtesy of Nonesuch Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products; “Los tamalitos de Olga,” written by José A. Fajardo, performed by Orquesta Aragon, published by Peer International Corp., courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV; “Descarga sonora,” written by Javier Vasquez, performed by Sonora Matancera, published by EMI Longitude Music, courtesy of Hortensia Records; “Por que me la dejaste querer?” written by Jacinto Villa Fernandez, performed by Bola de Nieve, courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV; “Duerme,” written by Miguel Prado and Gabriel Luna de la Fuente, performed by Bebo Valdez, published by Peer International Corp., courtesy of Hortensia Records; “Conoci La Paz,” written by Beny More, performed by Beny More, published by Peer International Corp., courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV; “Kamata Mariyam,” traditional, performed by Fairuz, published by Voix de L’Orient/A. Chamine & Fils, courtesy of Voix de L’Orient/A. Chamine & Fils; “El canonero,” written by E. Benitez, performed by Beny More, published by Termidor Music Publishing, Ltd., courtesy of Discos Revuelta SADECV.
Composer: Laurie Anderson
  E. Benitez
  José Delgado
  Antonio Escobar
  Juan José Espinosa
  José A. Fajardo
  Pedro Ferrez Valiente
  Florian Fricke
  Ernesto Lecuona
  Gabriel Luna de la Fuente
  Gustav Mahler
  Miguel Matamoros
  Faustino Miro
  Beny More
  Ennio Morricone
  Gillo Pontecorvo
  Miguel Prado
  Lou Reed
  Gonzales Urfe
  Javier Vasquez
  Jacinto Villa Fernandez
Source Text: Based on the book Antes que anochezca ( Before Night Falls ) by Reinaldo Arenas (Barcelona, 1992).
Authors: Reinaldo Arenas

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
El Mar Pictures, LLC 12/4/2001 dd/mm/yyyy PA0001312335

PCA NO: 37767
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  col: Motion picture negative by Eastman Kodak film
  Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  Widescreen/ratio: 1.85:1
  Lenses/Prints: Reverse processing by DuArt Film and Video
  gauge: 35mm

 
Genre: Biography
  Biography
Sub-Genre: Political
  with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Reinaldo Arenas
  Authors
  Cuba--History
  Cubans
  Homosexuality
  Political prisoners
  Political persecution
 
Subjects (Minor): AIDS (Disease)
  Balloons (Hot air)
  Betrayal
  Fidel Castro
  Confession (Law)
  Contests
  Education
  Escapes
  False accusations
  Friendship
  Havana (Cuba)
  Immigration
  Informers
  Libraries and librarians
  Manuscripts
  Morro Castle (Havana, Cuba)
  Mothers and sons
  New York City
  Officers (Military)
  Poetry
  Poverty
  Smuggling
  Suicide
  Torture
  Transvestites

Note: The acting and crew credits for this film appear at the end of the picture, and the first time the actors are listed, without character names, Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez and Andrea Di Stefano receive individual title cards. When the actors are credited with their characters names, they are listed in order of appearance. An end credit dedicates the picture to Lázaro Gómez Carriles, one of the picture's three screenwriters and Reinaldo Arenas’ longtime companion. The end credits are seen over footage from the 1960 short film entitled PM , written and directed by Orlando Jiménez Leal and Saba Cabrera, which was banned in Cuba in 1961. One of the end titles notes that archival footage was obtained courtesy of National Geographic Television; “The Other Cuba,” Orlando Leal; “Havana,” Zoila Estrada; Educational & Television Films, LTD; and Best Shot Stock Footage.
       Voice-over narration by Javier Bardem, as his character “Reinaldo Arenas,” is heard intermittently throughout the film. Some portions of Reinaldo’s narration, as well as some dialogue, is in Spanish, with English subtitles. Much of the narration is taken directly from Arenas’ posthumously published memoir Before Night Falls . As reported in interviews with director Julian Schnabel, the picture is also based on several of Arenas’ novels, including El mundo alucienante ( Hallucinations ), and poems, such as “The Parade Begins” and “The Parade Ends.” Portions of these works are directly quoted in the film, some in Spanish with English subtitles, and others in English. The sequence during which Arenas is interviewed in New York is based on an actual interview with Arenas conducted by Jana Bokova for her BBC television documentary Havana .
       As noted in the film, Cuban-born Arenas (1943--1990) was a gifted poet and novelist who spent most of his young adulthood in Havana. Only one of Arenas’ books, Celestina antes del alba ( Singing in the Well ), was published in Cuba during his lifetime; most of his manuscripts were smuggled out of the country and published abroad. When Hallucinations was published in France, as Le monde hallucinanat , it won a National Book Award for Best Foreign Novel of 1969. Persecuted in his native country both for his writing and his homosexuality, Arenas was arrested after being falsely accused of child molestation and imprisoned in El Morro Castle for several years. After his release, Arenas was forced to work in labor camps and kept under close surveillance by Fidel Castro’s government. In 1980, Arenas was among the thousands of Cubans permitted by Castro to immigrate to the United States. After briefly living in Miami, Arenas moved to New York, where, despite having contracted AIDS, he continued to write. In 1990, no longer able to work, Arenas committed suicide at the age of 47.
       According to a 19 Jan 2001 Entertainment Weekly article, Schnabel first asked Benicio Del Toro to play Arenas, and cast Spanish actor Javier Bardem as Lázaro Gómez Carriles. After Del Toro turned down the part of Arenas, Schnabel asked Bardem to take the role. Bardem initially refused because he did not speak English and was wary of Arenas’s anti-Communist politics, according to a 15 Jan 2001 Var article. Bardem did accept the part, however, after intensive English lessons, reading Arenas’ books and studying life in Cuba. Bardem not only had to learn English but how to speak Spanish with a Cuban accent. As noted in several reviews, Bardem bears a striking resemblance to Arenas. Olatz Lopez Garmendia, who plays Reinaldo’s mother, is Schnabel’s wife, and Vito Maria Schnabel, who plays Reinaldo as a teenager, is their son.
       According to a 13 Jun 2001 Time Out article, Schnabel invested $8,000,000 of his own money in the production. The picture was filmed on location in Veracruz and Mérida, Mexico and New York City over a period of approximately 60 days in the fall of 1999. According to the film’s official website, scenes set at the notorious El Morro Castle, a 17th century Spanish colonial fortress that was used as a prison in Cuba before being turned into a tourist attraction, were shot at Mexico’s San Juan de Ulúa, another Spanish fortress later used as a prison.
       Bardem was chosen as the best actor of 2000 by the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics. He also received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. Before Night Falls won the Grand Jury Prize at the International Venice Film Festival and was nominated for several other awards, including the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature. Additionally, the film was selected as one of AFI's top ten films of the year. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   5 Sep 2000   p. 14, 21.
Daily Variety   19 Jan 2001.   
Entertainment Weekly   29 Sep 2000   pp. 12-14.
Entertainment Weekly   12 Jan 2001   p. 56.
Entertainment Weekly   19 Jan 2001   pp. 44-47.
GQ   Jan 2001   p. 38.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Sep 2000   p. 6, 102.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Oct 2000   p. 21, 80.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Dec 2000.   
Hollywood Reporter   27 Feb 2001.   
Los Angeles Times   17 Dec 2000.   
Los Angeles Times   22 Dec 2000.   
New York Times   6 Oct 2000.   
New York Times   5 Nov 2000.   
New Yorker   8 Jan 2001.   
Newsweek   25 Dec 2000.   
The Observer (London)   3 Jun 2001.   
The Observer (London)   17 Jun 2001.   
Time Out (London)   13 Jun 2001.   
Time   8 Jan 2001.   
The Times (London)   7 Jun 2001.   
Variety   11 Sep 2000.   
Variety   15 Jan 2001.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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