A gringo convenience store clerk (Tim Streeter) becomes fixated on a teenage Mexican illegal immigrant named Johnny (Doug Cooeyate), while also flirting with Johnny's friend Roberto (Ray Monge). The film's raw, low-budget look reflects the lives of the working-class protagonist and the poor objects of his affections. The film also reveals the misunderstandings and complex desires at play in the relationships between characters who are divided by culture and language. Dark and bleak compared to more recent gay features seeking broad appeal, Mala Noche offers a vision of marginal life and hints at Van Sant's favorite visual motifs--cloud imagery (My Own Private Idaho and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues) and kaleidoscopic lens tricks (Good Will Hunting). 1985, U.S., BW, 16 mm, 78 minutes.
PRECEDED BY: My Friend (1988, 2 minutes).
GUS VAN SANT: ON THE ROAD AGAIN IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM THE REGIS FOUNDATION. PROGRAMMING ASSISTANCE WAS PROVIDED BY THINKFILM.