Thursday, December 13, 2007

Before Night Falls

This 2000 film tells the tale of Cuban poet, revolutionary and counter-revolutionary Reinaldo Arenas. Maybe I should rephrase that, this is the film version of Arenas' memoir of his life, which he wrote mostly in prison and was only able to get published after going to many drastic measures to get the manuscript smuggled out of Cuba (including wrapping it in plastic and trying to ride an intertube to Miami). I so wanted to love this movie. I absolutely love the main actor, I love the story and I totally love the writer/director. This is the second movie by writer/director Julian Schnabel who wrote/directed one of my very favorite movies ever, Basquiat. But I couldn't love this movie b/c it was too strange at times and really dragged at others. There were scenes that I felt like were totally unnecessary. And there were times where they were clearly trying to be artsy but it just came off to me as boring, pretentious and unnecessary. But there were some very good things. Javier Bardem's portrayal was absolutely perfect, spot on. The story was good, the look was good and the message was very good. Arenas was a man oppressed. He was oppressed as a young artist by his family. He was oppressed by his society as a homosexual and he was oppressed by his government as both a homosexual and an artist. If this film does anything it shows the true ugliness of bigotry, a message that everyone should hear and soak in. But as a movie en totale, I just didn't love no matter how much I wanted to.

S'Good (fyi, there are some scenes of pretty explicit sexuality in this movie)

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