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BAD NIGHT

USA, 1985 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Mala Noche is a low-budget adaptation of an autobiographical novella, shot in black and white. It seems to be aiming for a style that has emerged recently in the USA with Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise: a street­wise feel of improvised fictional worlds slanted very much towards the plight of the individual in the big world.

The central character, Walt, is gay. He works in a small store in Portland, Oregon, and falls in love with a young Mexican immigrant, Johnny. Walt is let down when Johnny falls for Walt's sister and Walt has to settle for Johnny's young friend. The two young Mexicans eventually become victims of their own predicament: illegal, jobless, displaced from their own country. Johnny ends up back on the street while his friend is killed by the police.

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