Interior. Leather Bar.

June 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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FRAMELINE FILM FESTIVAL.  Generally, I tend to avoid film festivals because I rarely see films I enjoy.  However, for all the crap I see, there is always a “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” or “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” that make it all worth while.  In 1980, the Al Pacino film “Cruising” premiered to much controversy.  Pacino played an undercover cop descending into the depths of the gay community in order to catch a serial killer.  And I do mean “descending” “Heart of Darkness” style into depravity.   Apparently, in order to keep from getting an X rating, director William Friedkin had to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit footage, filmed mostly in a real leather bar with real members of the gay community.  In “Interior. Leather Bar,” director Travis Mathews (the”In Their Room” series) and James Franco re-imagine those missing 40 minutes.  Well, sort of.  Franco and Mathews appear throughout the movie as themselves (this seems to be a theme for Franco).  We see them, documentary style, discussing their “vision” for the film with the actors, prepping actors, prepping and filming scenes.  We also see actors talking with each other on the set, talking to their agents and family members.  Or do we?  Well, yes and no.  Mathews was at the screening and, as we learned in the Q&A section, almost everything on screen was acted, if not scripted.  What makes this film so brilliant is that, while appearing to be about the missing scene from “Cruising,” it is about much much more; by superficially exploring the homophobia of 30 years ago, the film delves  into homophobia and sex-phobia today.  Franco lays out his intentions in the first scene of the film when he bemoans the potential costs of the legalization of gay marriage.  He lays his claim to leftist sexual politics and proceeds to examine the role sex plays in Hollywood and in the stories we tell ourselves.


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