Out of darkness, light: Queer film series launches with ‘Before Night Falls’

For KnightBlog, I wrote about the old independent film center Alliance Cinema (South Beach), my first encounter with Javier Bardem and its connection to Queer Screens: LGBTQ Film Series, a new film series co-presented by Reading Queer and O Cinema. It was a difficult, but formative period of my life. The Alliance Cinema made coming out in the early 1990s and the horrors of the AIDS epidemic palpable. It was the first time I felt I had a community, that I fit in, that I mattered even though I was always the one kind of hiding in a dark corner.

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “In the 1990s, the Alliance Cinema was the pulse of South Beach–a center for independent film culture and, most importantly for me, a safe space for a burgeoning queer community. It’s where I met Javier Bardem….

In that dark, single-screen, six-row theater, I felt safe watching films that revealed the multitudes of being and becoming queer, with my community sitting next to me. It would pull me out of darkness more than once.”

Read more > here.


Before_Night_Falls_poster-1Raised in the Oriente Province of Cuba in the 1940s, Arenas began his life-long love of the sea and water. Leaving home as a young adolescent, he moves to Havana where he finds himself swept up in the revolutionary spirit and joins a circle of writers and artists. His first novel, “Singing from the Well,” is published in Cuba, but as Castro’s oppressive regime gathers force, Arenas’ homosexuality and political writing make him a target. After being falsely accused of molestation, Arenas is arrested and imprisoned at El Morro. Eventually released from prison after dehumanizing treatment, Arenas flees Cuba in the 1980 Mariel Harbor boatlift. After moving to New York with his friend Lazaro Gomez Carilles, Arenas’ hopes for a new life are destroyed by AIDS, and he dies in 1993, at the age of 45.