Directed by Gus Van Sant, a sort of godfather of American gay themed films, directed Mala
Noche fairly early in his career. As is the case with many of his movies, this film peers into
what many might consider the seamier side of life.
Those who are familiar with the director’s later and higher budget works may find Mala
Noche to be rough and unpolished. However, the visual technique is purposeful, reflecting the
influence of the cinema verite` movement in vogue in independent films of that era (1985).
It is an examination of longing, reminiscent of Thomas Mann’s powerful literary work, “Death In Venice.”
However, Mann’s work examines the decay of a middle class man who becomes fixated upon a beautiful youth from the
same class. Van Sant looks at the theme through the experiences of those who already have little to
If you haven’t yet seen this film, you really must do so as it is a foundational document of American gay
cinema. However, don’t bring your twenty-first century aesthetic to the viewing; simply allow it to unfold