2000, U.S., 133 min, Digital, Dir. Julian Schnabel, Rated R, Warner Bros.

Before Night Falls

Thursday, April 27

“Schnabel has fashioned a dense, emotionally satisfying portrait of a man, a time and a place.” –David Rooney, Variety

"This powerful, lyrical meditation on Arenas's life achieves a kind of hallucinatory urgency as it leaps and twists through his life." –David Ansen, Newsweek

Julian Schnabel (Basquiat) directs this episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (Javier Bardem) from his childhood in Oriente province to his death in New York City. He joins Castro's rebels. By 1964, he is in Havana. He meets the wealthy Pepe, an early lover; a love-hate relationship lasts for years. Openly gay behavior is a way to spite the government. His writing and homosexuality get him into trouble: he spends two years in prison, writing letters for other inmates and smuggling out a novel. He befriends Lázaro Gomes Garriles, with whom he lives stateless and in poverty in Manhattan after leaving Cuba in the Mariel boat-lift.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with this special series featuring three films: Aimé Césaire: The Mask of Words, Before Night Falls and Dead Poets Society. Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of people marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

Check out the rest of our Poetry Month program!