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Genres: Drama
Actors: Tim Streeter , Doug Cooeyate , Ray Monge , Nyla McCarthy , Sam Downey , Robert Lee Pitchlynn , Eric Pedersen , Marty Christiansen , George Conner , Don Chambers , Walt Curtis , Kenny Presler , Conde Benavides , Cristo Stoyos , Matt Cooeyate
Director: Gus Van Sant
Country: United States
Year: 1986
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 (1937 votes)

A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. “I wanna show this Mexican kid that I’m gay for him”, says Walt. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn’t even speak any English and finds Walt really strange and undesirable.

Film Review

It has been more than twenty years since Gus Van Sant released his first full-length feature film. For a first film, Mala Noche avoids many of the pitfalls other first films usually exhibit. The screenplay is realistic and the camera work is impressive. So, despite its age, the film is still worth a viewing.Mala Noche is a social realism-inspired drama about the life Walt Curtis. Curtis is a shopkeeper from Portland, Oregon and he falls in love with a Mexican immigrant named Johnny. The film covers Walt's effort to befriend Johnny, his brother Roberto, and his brothers. Walt is never able to sleep with Johnny as he wishes he could, but, ironically, has sex several times with Roberto.The most striking feature of Mala Noche is the realism of its lead character and the main supporting cast. Walt exhibits the characteristics of a poor young man. He works in a remedial job and lives in a run-down apartment. His attraction to Johnny is not romantic but visceral. His voice-over narration…

I was fortunate enough to see this at the Sydney Film festival. I am a fan of Van Sants, having seen all his stuff and read his fiction- and I've always wondered if I would ever see this curiosity of a film. And what I expected to be nothing more than a real fledgeling of a film, with only a glimmer of the Van Sant that attracts many to his work- was in actuality a stunning, fully sustained episodic and tender Ka-pow! that was wonderfully made and full of all the visual tricks and flair that makes Van Sants movies so idiosyncratic and so … well him. This was the biggest delight for me about it. I expected, simply because it is so hard to find and that it has no DVD release that it would be a mere trifle of a film. But it is anything but.I was moved, all the acting was top-notch. The main character was likeably deluded, such a victim of his own desire it was funny and warming at the same time. The Black and White and evident grain in occasional sound inconsistencies actually work…

OK, granted: The movie was filmed in the early or mid 80's I think, and you might even claim that the latino talent pool was not as big back then as it is now. But C"MON! The guys who were cast as the young Mexican homeless boys were HORRIBLE! Spanish is my first language and I could tell that the actors who portrayed JOhny and Robert were not fluent at all in Spanish which for this film it is a MAJOR point since they re supposed not to speak English. I guess that explains the reason why when Johny had dialogue, the camera was not on him, and the times when he spoke and the camera was on him there was no sync. I am 100 percent sure that they used someone else's voice ( a bad actor's at that) to do the voice over for Johny. For someone who speaks Spanish it was PAINFUL to listen to the monotone, emotion-deprived delivery of the lines. I don't know under what circumstances these two horrible actors were cast but I am sure the director did not do a thorough audition …

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