Before Night Falls
Click Here - https://urllio.com/2tkkV6
The movie isn't always a model of clarity. Schnabel immerses us in the atmosphere before giving us our bearings and he doesn't always identify the characters or their relation to each other. But the occasional confusions are a small price to pay for a director who places enough trust in his audience's intelligence to not spell everything out for them, to work allusively rather than declaratively to convey the meanings of Reinaldo Arenas' life.
Arenas began his memoir \"Before Night Falls\" before escaping from Cuba and completed it in New York. Its title refers to the daylight he had in which to write while hiding out from the police in the woods. It is a great book, in which the excitement of intellectual and sexual coming-of-age is both thwarted and intensified by the political repression that threatens to end them both. There's a touch of gay machismo swaggering through Arenas' prose; every trip to the beach, every bus ride, even a simple request for a light from a stranger on the street is an excuse for sex. Mixing Arenas' randiness with his rage toward Castro, the book reads like a combination of Joe Orton's diaries and George Orwell's \"Homage to Catalonia.\"
For Arenas, there's always a new book to read or write, and always new lovers to be sampled, even a group of Castro's soldiers who, in one scene, approach Arenas and his friends menacingly before giving themselves over to a naked campfire bacchanal that suggests kids at play as much as erotic abandon. At times, Javier Bardem's heavy-lidded eyes suggest a man who has done away with the need for sleep because there's simply too much going on. \"All affirmations of life are diametrically opposed to dogmatic regimes,\" Arenas wrote in his memoir, and Schnabel suggests how as Castro's revolutionary state became more repressive, it inadvertently fed dissent. Even in a Communist dictatorship, this was the '60s, with all the sexual adventurism of the times.
Still, Schnabel has managed to avoid nearly every cliché of the tortured artist. This is only his second movie, after \"Basquiat,\" but he has a command of technique that would be impressive in more seasoned directors. He seizes on images from the memoir and uses them almost as archetypes, as when the young Reinaldo dreamily comes upon a group of naked men bathing and happily splashing each other in the river. Even when he gives us a scene familiar from other movies, like the one where Reinaldo's teacher visits his grandfather's farm and tells them the boy has the sensitivity of a poet, he ends with something we haven't seen before. Silently taking in the teacher's declaration, the old men suddenly erupts in a scream of fury before grabbing an ax and dragging the boy into the yard where he chops down a tree in which Reinaldo has carved a poem in the bark. There's no sentimentality about the land or the people in the scene.
Both Schnabel and Bardem are into the sweaty joy of creation rather than the flossy prostration before the altar of culture that so often accompanies movies about the lives of artists. Remarking on the photos in the New York Times of Schnabel celebrating the movie's premiere in a party at his loft, a friend of mine said the neo-expressionist painter looks exactly like the movie he's made. With his hair and beard sticking out at all angles, his gut hanging out of his rumpled clothes, wet with the sweat of dancing to a Cuban band, Schnabel was the artist as rotund satyr. At its best \"Before Night Falls\" has the same grubby, masculine exultation of someone comfortable with the dirt under his fingernails and still capable of being enchanted by the melancholy of loss wafting in from some overheard tune.
Watching Before Night Falls in conjunction with The Motorcycle Diaries is an interesting experience. Whilst the tale of Che Guevara's journey round South America is instilled with an uplifting sense of youthful hope and revolutionary spirit, Julian Schnabel's portrayal of the life of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas paints a very different picture of post revolutionary Cuba. The young country boy may run away from home to join the rebels, but come the revolution, he finds the reality of life under Castro's oppressive military regime falls very far short of his ideals.
In communist Cuba, artists are counter-revolutionaries and 'beauty is the enemy'. And, whilst the swinging '60s may have ushered in a sexual revolution as epoch making as the political one, homosexuals like Reinaldo and his amigos are seen as dangerous, dissolute and dirty. Under a regime where a man can be arrested for wearing tight trousers and sent to a special concentration camp for gays, it isn't long before the dissident Reinaldo finds himself on the party blacklist, his novels banned as anti-Cuban, his lifestyle under unwanted scrutiny. Arrested on a trumped up assault charge, he's thrown into prison, where, after initially winning over the trust of his fellow inmates by penning their wives extravagant letters, he spends much of his time penned up in the foul cupboard sized cell that is solitary confinement.
Finally released, Reinaldo holes up with a Bohemian crew of fellow artists and gays, before eventually escaping Cuba when Castro decided to rid his country of everyone he deemed to be contra to his regime - so that's gays, artists and the mentally ill. Nice man, Castro.
Reinaldo's exodus to New York is a wonderfully uplifting moment, but his new found freedom isn't destined to last long. Falling prey to AIDS, he counts out his final days in the company of his loyal friend Lazaro (Olivier Martinez), before, courageous to the end, he eventually chooses assisted suicide over a long and lingering, painful death.
In its purest essence, the art of cinema still finds its way into the psychic of film lovers through exposure to the individual. Before Night Falls has been creating a sensation in Europe since its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and word spread wild fire among Hollywood insiders long before the film's upcoming release in the U.S. (December 22, 2000 limited; January 12, 2001 wide). Fresh from National Board of Review 2000 Film Awards presented to actor Javier Bardem for his portrayal of Reinaldo Arenas and the films placement in the Board's Top 10 list of the years best films, Before Night Falls promises to hit streets across America with passion.
Julian Schnabel, the painter turned filmmaker, stood in the rain outside the Kabuki theater Monday night waiting for Sean Penn to arrive. Marin's resident movie star has a small role in \"Before Night Falls,\" Schnabel's new biopic about Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. \"Sean agreed to do it because he wanted to help me get this movie made,\" said Schnabel, who demonstrated his gratitude by arranging a preview screening on Penn's night off from appearing onstage in \"The Late Henry Moss.\"
Schnabel often let the film's music speak for an entire sequence, omitting dialogue entirely. In one striking passage, Reinaldo goes to a Havana nightclub with Pepe Malas. A delicate ballet of romance and betrayal, the sequence unfolds to the melancholy, sensual strains of Lou Reed's \"Rouge. \" Noting that the song isn't congruous with the nightclub setting, Schnabel comments, \"I had re-recorded two traditional Cuban songs with the band that was actually playing in the scene. But then I decided 'Rouge' was more like a map of what's going on in Reinaldo's heart. \"
RA is arrested and sent to one of Castro's infamous homosexualprisons. Here Schnabel's narrative becomes dreamlike, quite like Arenas'symbo-poetic style, his experience as a neo-primitivist painter in evidence.RA's escape is particularly interesting as he slips through the molderingpastels of the dim corridors and emerges outside in the twilight, dives off anarrow pier into the sea... swims into the descending night. All is like apainting. Now he becomes a hunted man, \"a pervert molester\", a fugitive fromthe regime -- a marked contrast from the festive days as a celebrated youngwriter and sexual agent provocateur.
\"Re-educated\", RA is released from El Moro, chastened butunbroken. His fate now lies outside of Cuba. Through his friend Jorge Comacho-- a Cuban painter living in Paris -- his work has been published in Europe toa favorable audience. There's a deep sadness in RA in this period, deeper thanthe \"shared loneliness\" of the homosexual condition. His various attempts atescape are perfect examples of human solitude: Reinaldo floating nowhere on hisinner tube at night on the capricious ocean... or Reinaldo hiding in a tree asthe military hunt the infra-red vegetation. He has become more than ahomosexual undesirable -- he is now a traitor. 59ce067264