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MALA NOCHE

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Director: Gus Van Sant Run Time: 75 min. Release Year: 1986

Starring: Doug Cooeyate, Nyla McCarthy, Ray Monge, Sam Downey, Tim Streeter

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.

Courtesy of Janus Films

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