Gus Van Sant’s debut feature Mala Noche (1986), set in his hometown of Portland, Oregon with its low budget and lush black-and-white imagery, heralded an idiosyncratic, provocative new voice in American independent film. The film evokes a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, bars and seedy apartments bathed in a profound night time 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.
The Queer Cinema and the Movies of Gus Van Sant Film Club is a nomadic project and porous collective founded by Round dedicated to queer filmmaking.
This is the first of three screening events and was programmed with Lucia Pietroiusti and Kostas Stasinopoulos.