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Directed by Gus Van Sant

United States 1985 78 mins.

Based on Portland poet Walt Curtis’ autobiographical novella, Mala Noche impressed both European and American critics and quickly established Van Sant as an important new voice in independent cinema. Set on the dark, rain-soaked streets of downtown Portland, Walt (Tim Streeter), a gay liquor store clerk, becomes obsessed with Johnny (Doug Cooeyate), a handsome young Mexican illegal immigrant who manipulates Walt’s lust for food and shelter but turns down his affections. Walt is forced to settle for Johnny’s friend Pepper and becomes his protector but can’t shake his fixation on the boy of his dreams. “A film of rare tenderness and longing, involving both humor and anguish.”— Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times. “Poetic, moody and impressionistic —the title is Spanish for ‘bad night’ —the film is something to savor for the squalid world it introduces, and the way it presents its story, rather than for the specifics of that story.”—The Washington Post.