Interior. Leather Bar. (2014)
In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980 film, "Cruising." Inspired by the mythology of this controversial film, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage. Amid the backdrop of a frenzied film set, actor Val Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and "off camera," as unsimulated gay sex happens around him. The film itself is constructed as a play with boundaries remaining queer in subject and form. As much a film about filmmaking as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom, "Interior. Leather Bar." defies easy categorization.(c) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for Interior. Leather Bar.
Joylessly over-enunciates all of its questions in bluntly literal ways.
A movie that continually puzzles over what it is and why it is being made.
"Interior. Leather Bar." is a Rubik's Cube of a movie, an intriguing, layered puzzle that isn't easily solved.
We see brief, graphic shots of naked actors performing sexual acts. But it's the conversations about what those depictions represent that truly provoke.
It largely consists of Franco musing about depictions of homosexual activity on film.
The "reimagining" is the subject of much conversation, but little true engagement.
With Travis Mathews's help, James Franco's persona forms a kind of symmetry: 1980's dubious homophobia against 2013's risible homophilia.
This is the embodiment of the Franco that Franco was poking fun of in This is the End. And there's a reason that schtick was funny - this Franco isn't insightful, he's dull.
This is a curious film, an important film and, in its oblique way, a very funny film.
Interior. Leather Bar. isn't as concerned with accurate depictions of historical footage as it is interested in deconstructing Friedkin's ideas and reassembling them in a contemporary context.
A supremely masturbatory endeavor that prominently features naked men actually masturbating, Interior. Leather Bar. is obsessed with itself and with its co-creator, but its fascination is understandable and even justified.
...Franco has finally delivered a side project that does at least some justice to his eclectic artistic ambitions.
A truly one-of-a-kind film from James Franco & Co. seriously, intelligently and movingly addresses sexuality in film
"Interior. Leather Bar" is ultimately more an idea for movie than a movie, the rap sessions ramble, and it feels half-baked by the time it gets to its climactic twist, which isn't as clever as it thinks.
The effort is stronger, more effective as an inspection of backstage planning and the reins of phobia, isolating and confronting modern prejudices via the reverse engineering of old ones.
Uses the notorious Friedkin movie as a starting point for a discussion about identity, perception, an actor's mask and the fear and power of on-screen sexuality.
[It's] so slender that if looked at from the right angle, it wouldn't even exist.
Audience Reviews for Interior. Leather Bar.
The film started off with the promise of being the reimaging of the lost scenes of the Al Pacino movie, "Cruising". Then it some how turned into a hot mess of a lot of nothing. I was as confused as Val most of the time. I understand what Franco was saying when he spoke about believing that we are brought up in a box and nurtured to believe that only a certain way of loving, living, and expressing yourself sexually is to be between a woman and a man. I liked that he pushed for a more out of the box kind of documentary, but it all just got so messed up along the way. And the Dom guy was super creepy, IMO. It's not something I would watch again. But not because of the content, but because of the confused mess it is.More
Not at all what I expected. The film is not so much about the seedy material that might have been cut from the original Cruising film -- it's more about contemporary reactions to the material and challenging modern society's value judgments about sexuality. Thought provoking. I recommend this film for an audience with adult attitudes and open minds.More
I think it would have been far more interesting if the film was actually the promised missing material from "Cruising" rather than a faux-documentary about making the film of the missing material. It's an interesting project with interesting ideas, but even at 60 minutes it feels padded out and undisciplined.More
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