Before Night Falls (2000)
Director: Julilan Schnabel.
Starring: Javier Bardem (Reinaldo Arenas), Olivier Martinez (Lázaro Gómez Carriles), Andrea Di Stefano (Pepe Malas), Johnny Depp (Lt. Victor), Michael Wincott (Herberto Zorrilla Ochoa), Olatz Lopez Garmendia (Reinaldo's Mother), Giovanni 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 Armendáriz Jr. (Reinaldo's Grandfather), Diego Luna (Carlos).
As a young boy, Reinaldo Arenas saw the communists come to power. He is pleased with the change at first, but soon becomes a victim of Cuban system set up by Fidel Castro.
This movie is hard to watch at times. This homosexual poet and writer is terribly abused by the totalitarian system. His writings are censored and he is thrown in jail several times just for being homosexual or for writing. Fascists and Communists, those on either end of the political continuum, are both untrustworthy because they have something in common: their totalitarianism. A plague on both their houses.
I wonder if the American right-wing would approve of the harassment of homosexuals as in Cuba. (They say hate the sin, not the sinner, but they actually hate both.)
Cuban Reinaldo Arenas has to go through hell to get himself out of Cuba. He actually is able to get out finally by admitting that he is a homosexual in Cuba. And the Communists, like the Fascists, just can't stand that. Both ends of the spectrum are just so similar.
He lives in exile in New York in the 1980s.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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