Before Night Falls (film)

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Before Night Falls
Before Night Falls poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Produced by Jon Kilik
Screenplay by Cunningham O'Keefe
Lázaro Gómez Carriles
Julian Schnabel
Based on Before Night Falls
by Reynaldo Arenas
Starring Javier Bardem
Olivier Martinez
Johnny Depp
Héctor Babenco
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Xavier Pérez Grobet
Guillermo Rosas
Edited by Michael Berenbaum
El Mar Pictures
Grandview Pictures
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release date
  • September 3, 2000 (2000-09-03) (Venice Film Festival)
  • January 26, 2001 (2001-01-26) (United States)
Running time
133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $8,527,517

Before Night Falls is a 2000 American drama film directed by Julian Schnabel. The screenplay is based on the autobiography of the same name of Reinaldo Arenas, which was published in English in 1993.[1] The screenplay was written by Schnabel, Cunningham O'Keefe, and Lázaro Gómez Carriles. The film stars Javier Bardem, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, Johnny Depp, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Santiago Magill, and Michael Wincott.

The film had its world premiere at the 2000 Venice International Film Festival and its North American premiere at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival.[2]


Before Night Falls is based on the autobiography of the same name by Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. In the film, Arenas, who was openly gay, is born in Oriente in 1943 and raised by his single mother and her parents, who soon move the entire family to Holguín. After moving to Havana in the sixties to continue his studies, Reinaldo begins to explore his ambitions, as well as his sexuality. After receiving an honorary mention in a writing contest, Arenas is offered the chance to publish his first work. Through his work and friendships with other openly gay men (such as Pepe Malas and Tomas Diego), Arenas manages to find himself.

The political climate in Cuba becomes increasingly dangerous, and in the early seventies Arenas is arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting minors, and for publishing abroad without official consent. In the next decade, Arenas is in and out of prison, attempting and failing to leave the country several times.

In 1980, Arenas finally leaves Cuba for the US, starting a new life with his close friend Lazaro Gomez Carriles. A few years later, Arenas is diagnosed with AIDS, and after spending several years suffering he dies in 1990 with the help of Lazaro.



Julian Schnabel got the idea of making Before Night Falls immediately after making Basquiat, however it took four years to actually produce the film.[3]

Bardem spent one-and-a-half months in New York City with Arenas's best friend, Lazaro Gomez Carriles, taking two hours a day to study how Arenas walked and talked.[4]



External links[edit]