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"Interior. Leather Bar.": Finally, the Gay Sex of Cruisin' Comes to Light 

Wednesday, Apr 9 2014

To avoid an X-rating for Cruising, his 1980 film about a cop (Al Pacino) who goes undercover to catch a killer in New York's homosexual S&M underworld, director William Friedkin cut more than a half-hour's worth of explicit queer sex. Friedkin states in his memoirs that footage was never intended to be in the final cut, and James Franco and Travis Matthews' Interior. Leather Bar. is not only a scripted faux-documentary about Franco and Matthews deciding to reshoot those scenes, but an exploration of why Disney's new Wizard of Oz would even want to do such a thing. Though the film mostly follows actor Val Lauren, recruited to play the Pacino role with no small amount of trepidation, the heart of the film is Franco working though his culturally ingrained fear of gay sex, and his desire to move beyond the tyranny of heteronormativity and find something beautiful in what Cruising portrayed as dark and evil. (Progress: The judgmental, distancing word "lifestyle," often used by Friedkin, is never uttered once.) The actual restaged footage comprises far less than 40 minutes of the 60-minute running time, and is nothing special by gay porn standards. Interior. Leather Bar. frequently chases its own tail, but it's an interesting thought experiment nonetheless. (The Roxie will be showing it with Franco-tastic shorts.)

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Sherilyn Connelly


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