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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students attend biopic viewing

A marqué at the Rose Marine Theater announces a special screening of Before Night Falls, a biopic about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. Photo by Jonathan Resendez/The Collegian
A marqué at the Rose Marine Theater announces a special screening of Before Night Falls, a biopic about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. Photo by Jonathan Resendez/The Collegian

By jonathan resendez/south news editor

A marqué at the Rose Marine Theater announces a special screening of Before Night Falls, a biopic about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas.  Photo by Jonathan Resendez/The Collegian
A marqué at the Rose Marine Theater announces a special screening of Before Night Falls, a biopic about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. Photo by Jonathan Resendez/The Collegian

A special screening of Before Night Falls, a biopic about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, drew a large crowd of Fort Worth residents and TCC students to the Rose Marine Theater Jan. 23.

Julian Schnabel, recipient of awards including a Golden Globe, directed the 2001 film that featured Johnny Depp and Sean Penn and won Javier Bardem an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

More so than the star-studded cast, the film’s depiction of poet Arenas’ struggles evoked the most response from the crowd. During Castro’s rise to power in Cuba, Arenas was constantly pursued and subjected to inhumane prisons for his writings.

Robert Downtain, NE adjunct history instructor, said the movie was a thorough look at Arenas’ life.

“ It was a strong example of the prejudice and abuse a gay man can experience in his life,” he said. “Not all of them go through that much, but some do. ”

Downtain and Anne Rye, history associate professor, sponsor Spectrum, a NE club that aims to interact, communicate and learn about the gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual community and the issues that concern it.

Rye said the powerful movie raised many important questions.

“ Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man couldn’t be depicted better,” she said.

Downtain said, “The movie did a good job of interspersing Arenas’ biography with the Cuban revolution.”

Although the movie shows Cuba during a brutal time and contains dark themes, moviegoers left the theater focused on its message of perseverance and the pleasing atmosphere in which it was presented.

Spectrum member Jessica Harvey, a psychology major, said she not only enjoyed the movie but the theater as well.

Michala Mabry, Spectrum member and physical education major, said she enjoyed coming to the theater because of the free art galleries also open to moviegoers.

“ I like that the theater coordinated the screening with the art exhibitions. It’s not just another night at the movies,” she said.

Mark Alcala is programs director for Artes De La Rosa, an organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and interpreting the culture and history of the Latino community. Having graduated from the University of North Texas’ film school, Alcala said he was surprised he had not heard of the film until that night.

“ Now I can see why Javier Bardem is an Oscar-winning actor,” he said.

For those interested in joining, Spectrum will have its first meeting 4 p.m. Feb. 4 in NSTU 1204A. Call Anne Rye at 817-515-6923 for more information.

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