Monday, January 07, 2008

Mala Noche

The first Gus Van Sant movie is quite a trip into a black and white cinematography that can blow your mind at moments, especially when learning that his budget was US$25,000! Okay it was 1985 but still is a very low budget to create such a visually good movie.

Based on the Walt Curtis autobiographical novel of the same name with a screenplay co written by Van Sant, tells about doomed romance between a liquor store clerk (Walt) and a Mexican illegal immigrant (Johnny) and as the booklet in the DVD says: “Mala Noche is openly gay; so open in its gayness, in fact, that the narrative’s driving force –blind, unembarrassed homosexual lust- is established in a matter of seconds” and that’s exactly right.

But then and I totally agree when it says: …seen today, the film also seems far ahead of its time, in large part because it so blithely bypasses the identity politics and representational burdens of ‘gay cinema’.

Yes, this is a complex movie with a simple story that may not be suited for all audiences, perhaps not even to those that enjoy the genre as this is a real art house movie to enjoy for the story and for the uniqueness of its camera, editing and black, white and chiaroscuros.

If you get The Criterion Collection #407 DVD be sure to read the complete booklet as is quite interesting reading. I have to admit that I own several Van Sant movies and that I have a hard time watching movies like Elephant; but, I’ve seen Paranoid Park and is outstanding, as good as this one.

Not for all audiences, you have to like art or art house cinema.


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