Sunday, June 19, 2016

Before Night Falls

Movie Name: Before Night Falls
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Julian Schnabel
Stars: Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Santiago Magill, John Ortiz, Hector Babenco, Michael Wincott, Sean Penn, Diego Luna, Vito Schnabel, Najwa Nimri
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
Celebrated artist Julian Schnabel followed his great debut "Basquiat", with another film focused on another artist who much like the celebrated painter, carved a live and a career on his own terms, even if he had to leave his birthplace in order to do so.
"Before Night Falls" follows the story of cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, introducing us to his humble beginnings on his family's farm. From then on we witness as Reinaldo begins to know more about literature, and how his career starts emerging, alongside his homosexuality. His life changes dramatically when Castro takes over and he finds himself in prison due to his sexuality. He finally manages to devise an escape plan and comes to the US as a refugee, where he lives in hardship, but continues to write.
Julian Schnabel continued his directorial career, with another biopic focused on a celebrated and marginalized artist, poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. The film paints a perfect picture of how the artist grew up and how the society in Cuba evolved and changed with the different political climates. It's a film that is simultaneously gritty and poetic, reminding us of how art can effectively change the world. It's a film that also presents the reality of what is like to be gay in a repressive society.  Javier Bardem is perfect once more, embodying the artist with utter and complete immersion, but the film also allows for Johnny Depp to play two distinct and memorable roles. A very good film always worth revisiting.