A romantic deadbeat has a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant in Mala Noche, Gus Van Sant’s important prelude to the New Queer Cinema of the nineties and a fascinating time capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director’s work.
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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?
A film about a guy lusting after another guy; he just blatantly wants to have sex with him. I can relate to this sort of thing. I'm glad Van Sant made a film about this kind of behaviour. It's not great, but I'm glad I finally saw it, and I did enjoy it.
This beautifully raw and low-budget debut film leaves little to distract you from the intimate dance between its two leads, and makes you realize what a natural talent Gus Van Sant has for creating such instantly likable personalities out of first time actors.
Mala Noche is a beautifully photographed, evocative tribute to guys just barely getting by in the gay and gritty Portland neighborhoods of the mid 80s.
It's interesting how Gus Van Sant returns from time to time to movies set in dark corners of Portland for interesting little slice of life movies. He does it well and it's a valuable contribution to cinema.
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.