Gus Van Sant, “Mala Noche”

“Mala Noche”: Directed by Gus Van Sant

“Mala Noche (Bad Night)” is a 1985 American drama film written and directed by Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy, Last Days), based on an autobiographical novel by the Oregon poet Walt Curtis. The film was shot in 16 mm, mostly black-and-white.

With its low budget and lush black-and-white imagery, Gus Van Sant’s debut feature “Mala Noche” heralded an idiosyncratic, provocative new voice in American independent film. Set in Van Sant’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, the film evokes a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, and bars and seedy apartments bathed in a profound nighttime, as it follows a romantic deadbeat with a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant. “Mala Noche” was an important prelude to the New Queer Cinema of the nineties and is a fascinating capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director’s work.

Gus Van Sant’s “Male Noche” is available on Netflix disc and through Hulu and Prime subscription services.

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