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3.5
1,242 Ratings

Mala Noche

Directed by Gus Van Sant
United States, 1985
Drama, LGBT+

Synopsis

The film follows a romantic deadbeat with a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant in a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, and bars or seedy apartments bathed in a profound nighttime. A fascinating time capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director’s work.

Mala Noche Directed by Gus Van Sant

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2006 | Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

1987 | Winner: Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award

Critics reviews

This heightened mixture of lush imagery with squalid content speaks to Van Sant's infatuation with and veneration of Skid Row. He never looks down or even pities his characters; in fact, he's quit taken with them and their quirks. (In many ways the film is the New Queer Cinema's idea of a comedy of manners.) Indeed, the film stands as a testament to a bygone era, a romanticized but nevertheless faithful record of Portland cultural history.
May 02, 2013
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Every shot in MALA NOCHE exudes a blunt insistence upon sex right this minute—a sensibility notably absent from the well-behaved, inspirational independent features that have dominated LGBT film festivals in recent years. (MALA NOCHE isn't the kind of film where someone's conservative mother reluctantly learns to accept her child's queerness after realizing that gays know all the best showtunes.) The infrequent bursts of color are, like the rest of the movie, ecstatic and sad.
August 30, 2013
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Van Sant’s early years are the stuff of legend: He had one of the most striking first acts in contemporary American cinema. 1986’s Mala Noche was a moody, humid 16mm masterpiece steeped in the kind of lyrical homoeroticism that rarely penetrated the mainstream consciousness; it was as though the director had arrived as a fully formed stylist with an eye for left-of-center characters and milieus.
July 13, 2018
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