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24 min. Spanish.

Though he first supported the Cuban revolution as a young man, Reinaldo Arenas spent much of his adult life on the island as a persona non grata because of his open homosexuality and politically dissident views. While his work was banned inside the country, his manuscripts were smuggled out by friends and won prizes abroad. To this day, his novels and poems are absent from Cuban libraries, bookstores, and schools. In the 1970s he would organize secret literary gatherings in Havana’s Lenin Park and share his writings with friends. When he escaped from arrest in 1974, he spent months in the park as a fugitive and drafted his memoir, “Before Night Falls”.
Fusco returns to Arenas’s hiding place to restore a sense of historical memory to what is now a virtually abandoned site. With the help of journal entries written by one of the friends who helped Arenas while he was a fugitive, Fusco was able to locate and shoot in the spot where Arenas hid, wrote, and fished for food. The three Cuban artists in the film attempt to commit to memory one of Arenas’s most famous poems about yearning for a homeland that has been ripped away from those who fought to free it.

Coco Fusco, born in New York, USA in 1960, is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Her performances and videos have been presented at biennials and museums worldwide.

Production Coco Fusco. Production company Coco Fusco (New York, USA). Written and directed by Coco Fusco. Cinematography Raphael Lyon. Editing Jessie Stead. Music EOS Quartet. Sound design Raphael Lyon. Sound Jessie Stead. Production manager Yanelys Nuñez-Leyva. With Amaury Pacheco, Iris Ruiz, Lynn Cruz.


1988: Havana Postmodern: The New Cuban Art (30 min.). 1993: The Couple in the Cage: A Guatinaui Odyssey (31 min.). 1995: Pochonovela (27 min.). 2001: Els Segadors / The Reapers (22 min.). 2002: Dolores from 10 to 10 (98 min.). 2004: a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert (31 min.). 2006: Operation Atropos (59 min.). 2011: La Plaza Vacia / The Empty Plaza (11 min.). 2013: And Then the Sea Will Talk to You (45 min.). 2015: La Confesión / The Confession (30 min.), La botella al mar de María Elena / The Message in a Bottle from María Elena (44 min.). 2016: TED Ethology: Primate Visions of the Human Mind (49 min.). 2018: Vivir en junio con la lengua afuera / To Live in June with Your Tongue Hanging out.

Photo: © Coco Fusco

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur