- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: May 22, 2001
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: New Line Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Snap Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Dolby Surround - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Documentary: Interview with Reinaldo Arenas
- Audio Commentary: Julian Schnabel - Director
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Text/Photo Galleries:
- DVD-ROM Features:
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Premiere - 12/01/2000
"...[A] powerful true story....Viscerally evocative..."
USA Today - 12/21/2000
"...[Javier Bardem] gives an undeniably dynamic performance....[Penn and Depp's cameos] are brief and well-integrated..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 12/22/2000
Ranked #5 in Entertainment Weekly's "Owen Gleiberman's BEST MOVIES OF 2000" -- "...[Bardem is] marvelous and moving..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2001
Hollywood Reporter - 10/17/2000
"...Ambitious, stylistically audacious and intelligent....A complex and rewarding film..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/22/2000
"...Redolent of atmosphere and rapturously cinematic, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS has a gift for creating visual mood that's so strong you'd swear it couldn't last -- but you'd be wrong..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 02/02/2001
"...Schnabel, the painter, makes his screen a rich canvas of dream sequences, fragmented childhood memories and the wild Cuban demimonde inhabited by Arenas and others who do not conform..."
Wall Street Journal - 12/31/2010
"[A]n exhilarating, wrenching collage of fact and imagination that helps us understand why art is central to this artist's being..."
The life of Reinaldo Arenas, an exiled Cuban homosexual writer, is chronicled in an adaptation of his memoir BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, directed by Julian Schnabel (BASQUIAT). Javier Bardem (in an Oscar-nominated performance) portrays Arenas as he journeys from poverty to university to the sexual revolution and homosexual subculture in Havana to persecution and imprisonment under the policies of Fidel Castro for being both gay and a writer. Despite the harsh conditions of prison, the courageous Arenas continued not only to write but also to publish his works abroad. Ultimately, he was allowed to leave Cuba for America, but there he faced new struggles as a man without a country battling AIDS. Schnabel's beautifully filmed sophomore directorial effort captures the essence of Cuba during the revolution. Johnny Depp is featured in the dual supporting roles of the cross-dressing prison inmate, Bon Bon, and the brutal officer, Lieutenant Victor. A well-disguised Sean Penn appears as Cuco Sanchez. Olivier Martinez as Lázaro Gómez Carillo and Andrea Di Stefano as Pepe Malas deliver standout performances. The film received accolades at the 2000 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.
- Theatrical release: December 22, 2000.
- Filmed in Mexico and New York City.
- Javier Bardem--who portrays Reinaldo Arenas--was originally slated for the supporting role of Lázaro Gómez Carillo, ultimately played by Olivier Martinez.
- Director Julian Schnabel's parents, wife, and five children all appear in the film.
- The National Board of Review, A.O. Scott and Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times, Jan Stuart of Newsday, Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News, Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly, the Austin Chronicle, and the American Film Institute named BEFORE NIGHT FALLS one of the 10 best films of 2000.
- The National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics named Javier Bardem Best Actor for his performance in BEFORE NIGHT FALLS.
- Javier Bardem was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture--Drama for his role in BEFORE NIGHT FALLS.