Gus Van Sant

By: Alix Lambert
July 24, 2013

van sant

Although best known as a director — Drugstore Cowboy (1989), To Die For (1995), Good Will Hunting (1997), Elephant (2003), Milk (2008) — GUS VAN SANT (born 1952) is also a writer, photographer, and painter. He’s an artist who — through different disciplines — presents us with his still beating heart, and makes us feel our own alienation. His early movie Mala Noche (1985) and 1991’s My Own Private Idaho, which follows street kids who’ve turned to hustling, and which is a reverie on the Van Santian themes of devotion and desolation, gave Portland, Oregon an enduring identity. Another ongoing theme, for a director who’s moved from independent experimental filmmaking to mainstream films and back, and who has contributed meaningfully to gay cinema, is the tension between rebellion and normalcy. “I think you can be a normal rebel. Normal sometimes is being rebellious,” he has said. “I don’t try to be either, but just doing what you do is sometimes interpreted as rebellious. For me, that’s normal.”


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Lord Dunsany, Robert Graves.

READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1944-53).


HiLo Heroes, Movies

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