Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

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I really loved Night Must Fall. No wonder Javier Bardem is nominated. He is, well, he's just this shining, beautiful creature. That smile is so transfixing. I was proud of myself for spotting Sean Penn right off, and I didn't even know he was in it, but before I could crow too loudly about that to Scott, who was saying that he thought Johnny Depp was pretty great too, I discoverd that he (JD) had played two roles, not one, and I had completely missed him in the best one.

Javier Bardem plays Reinaldo Arenas. He was wonderful. It's a very moving story.

"I discovered Reinaldo Arenas three years after his death. He is somebody who I could've bumped into passing through a door of a photographer's studio who took portraits of both of us within days of each other in New York City in the early 80s. His unique quality was that he was the Great Red Hope, a great writer who was educated by the Revolution. Being a homosexual and a writer was a combination damned in Cuba and for these two delicious vices, as Reinaldo called them, he was systematically persecuted. His unwavering commitment to his inner voice, which is very outspoken, landed him in El Morro prison for two years.One day in 1993, I was watching a documentary in Florida and Reinaldo appeared on TV being interviewed about his life. I thought if I ever made another film it would be about him. The film is not only an interpretation of Reinaldo's autobiography Before Night Falls but combines images from his other writings The Hallucinations, The Parade Ends, The Color of Summer and stories from his longtime friend Lzaro Gmez Carriles. Reinaldo wrote over 20 books, 10 novels, short stories and poems. It is my privilege to bring Reinaldo's voice to film. I think he speaks for many. I think it's a voice for many Cubans whom we haven't heard, an outrageous voice full of humour that has turned suffering into great beauty. Out of a life of difficulty came one of the most talented voices of Latin America. His huge talent has made him one of the biggest thorns in Fidel Castro's side. Even though he died broke and alone and far from the place where he began to dream, he is an emblem to many of endurance and hope."
Julian Schnabel
New York City, 2000

Sometime after completing his autobiography, months before his death, R.A. gave several handwritten, sealed copies of the letter below, addressed to friends and newspapers, to D.M.K. [Dolores M. Koch] for mailing at the appropriate time. It appeared in major U.S. papers and abroad.

Dear Friends:

Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible emotional depression it causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life. During the past few years, even though I felt very ill, I have been able to finish my literary work, to which I have devoted almost thirty years. You are the heirs of all my terrors, but also of my hope that Cuba will soon be free. I am satisfied to have contributed, though in a very small way, to the triumph of this freedom. I end my life voluntarily because I cannot continue working. Persons near me are in no way responsible for my decision. The sufferings of exile, the pain of being banished from my country, the loneliness, and the diseases contracted in exile would probably never have happened if I had been able to enjoy freedom in my country.

I want to encourage the Cuban people out of the country as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom. I do not want to convey to you a message of defeat but of continued struggle and of hope.
Cuba will be free. I already am.
Reinaldo Arenas

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