Interior. Leather Bar.

DIRECTORS: James Franco, Travis Mathews

Interior. Leather Bar. has made headlines as an attempt by genre-hopping directors Travis Mathews and James Franco to reconstruct the legendary “lost” footage cut (to avoid an X rating) from William Friedkin’s crime thriller Cruising—the controversial 1980 film starring Al Pacino as a straight undercover cop in New York’s leather world. But this new film is far more than two cinephiles’ academic exercise. Yes, they reimagine the infamous bar scene—with actor Val Lauren playing a version of Pacino—and bring a non-judgmental gaze onto the explicit backroom frolicking. But the filmmakers cleverly weave the re-creation into a meta-drama about the making of the 2012 scene, revealing its participants’ reservations and excitement and creating the quasi-doc about Hollywood, censorship, and sexual mores. Interior. Leather Bar. may have a famous controversy and James Franco as its attention-grabbers, but at heart it is a rumination on what separates creative and sexual expression, and private and public performance.

— PETER L. STEIN

This film contains sexually explicit material.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F120

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