Mala Noche

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.

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Gus Van Sant

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Milk

Leading an all-star cast (Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco) in Van Sant’s intimate and meticulously researched biographical drama, Sean Penn gives an astonishingly sensitive and astute performance as political iconoclast Harvey Milk, the self-described “Mayor of Castro Street.” “Milk tells Milk’s story as one of a transformed life, a victory for individual freedom over

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Last Days

Michael Pitt portrays a hauntingly familiar figure in this meditation—dedicated to Kurt Cobain—on the final days in the life of a famed musician retreating from the clamor of the world and its myriad, insistent demands. “Success is subjective,” an earnest Yellow Pages salesman tells Blake (Pitt), as he invites him to consider how a directory

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Elephant

Winner of the Palme d ‘Or and Best Director awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Van Sant drew inspiration for his key protagonists from the real-life Columbine High School tragedy. Rather than attempting to offer easy explanations, Van Sant creates a highly stylized evocation of a day in the life of a “normal” American high

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Gerry

Filmed in the stunning deserts of northern Argentina, Utah, and Death Valley, Gerry falls into the category of minimalist road movie—trek movie, actually—as two friends (Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, both named Gerry) set off on foot in the wild in search of the elusive. Very soon they are completely lost, disoriented, and in peril.

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My Own Private Idaho

Drawing upon the inherent “road movie” qualities of Prince Hal and Falstaff’s adventures in Henry IV, indie auteur Gus Van Sant crafted this thoughtful and affecting portrait of two hustlers in search of belonging. Rebellious, privileged Scott (Keanu Reeves) stands to inherit a fortune upon his approaching 21st birthday, while his companion Mike (River Phoenix)—a