Can't believe I haven't seen this, probably the only Van Sant I haven't.
A estreia de Van Sant é puro cinema independente anos 80: preto e branco, 16mm, montagem fragmentada, fotografia estilizada e temática marginal. A relação entre homens de diferentes condições étnicas, sociais e intelectuais é tratada de forma tensa, pouco suave mas envolvente. Até onde você iria por uma paixão não correspondida? Esse é o mote que persegue e faz perseguir a personagem central. Pra se deixar levar.
High contrasted black & white, impossibility of love and sex, despair, beautiful mexican chicos, marginal characters, night trains, cheap hotels, neon lights, street walking, spanish music: Kerouac meets Louis Malle in a walk on the wild side. Not Van Sant's best but wonderfully full of heart and soul. An incontestable treasure of queer cinema. Tim Streeter, where have you been?
Captured in passing in the 8mm fragments of Drugstore, Idaho and Paranoid Park, Mala Noche proves the strongest distillation of Van Sant’s early aesthetic, stripped of any retroactive affectation: rough, frenetic editing, high contrast B+W, as well as the Portland milieu, gay lovers and earnest template of ambiguous relationships separated by sexuality and demography. Indeed, its earnestness emerges its most striking feature - a flurry of edits and grain, masking its constraints in niftily stitching together montage with teleplay. Resnais-esque?
They say that the first time is always the best, and that's definitely true for Gus Van Sant's cinematic feature film debut. His gritty adaptation of Walt Curtis's semi-autobiographical novel "Mala Noche" captures the nicotine-stained edges and rain-soaked pavement of Portland's Skidmore / Old Town with an unlikely amor fou between a grocery clerk and the young Latino freight-hopping drfiters new to town. Excellent.
I like this quote from Stylusmagazine.com's review: "Mala Noche concerns urban bohemians, Mexicans, and homosexuals—and makes all of them all-American." Good call, and a fine point to make. Admittedly, for a first film and shoe-string budget, it can hardly be faulted. I just wish I could enjoy the Van Sant ride more than I tend to.
I LOVED Drugstore Cowboy, but I'm perplexed by the mystique surrounding Private Idaho, To Die For, Good Will Hunting and now Mala Noche. I did like Mala better than the others. Will I watch more Van Sant? Probably. Milk was very good and Elephant and Paranoid Park sound good, but I'm prepared for disappointment. Not sure why I keep coming back. Mala Noche kudos: Tim Streeter, B&W cinematography, the soundtrack.
The main guy is obnoxious. No, I take that back; he's pathetic. Though I suppose it's understandable. That Johnny kid was pretty cute.
Really good first film from Gus Van Sant, I loved the black and white cinematography.
This is where I discovered Gus. The critics award I got him encouraged on-the-fence finance to back "Drugstore Cowboy" and the rest is history. Tim Streeter's perfomance is superb, and he has made several very great films since.