Mala Noche

The Criterion Collection

Mala Noche

With its low budget and lush black-and-white imagery, Gus Van Sant's debut feature Mala Noche heralded an idiosyncratic, provocative new voice in American independent film. Set in Van Sant's hometown of Portland, Oregon, the film evokes a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, and bars and seedy apartments bathed in a profound nighttime, as it follows a romantic deadbeat with a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant. Mala Noche was an important prelude to the New Queer Cinema of the nineties and is a fascinating capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director's work.


  • Gus Van Sant
  • United States
  • 1985
  • 78 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #407


  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Gus Van Sant
  • New interview with Van Sant
  • Walt Curtis, the Peckerneck Poet: a documentary about the author of the book Mala Noche, directed by animator and friend Bill Plympton
  • Storyboard gallery
  • Original trailer edited by Van Sant
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Dennis Lim

New cover by Steve Chow