Interior. Leather Bar. & Cruising / A Down and Dirty Double Feature



“One of the sharpest, best surprises of the Sundance Film Festival.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Awesome! Complicated, strange and avant-garde.” – Gus Van Sant

“Compelling … Interior. Leather Bar. will certainly not be playing on any double bills with Franco’s Disney production Oz: The Great and Powerful.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

In 1980 the MPAA demanded that 40 minutes of sexually explicit material be removed from William Friedkin’s controversial film Cruising, starring Al Pacino as an undercover cop tracking a murderer through the New York City gay leather bar scene . That footage, cut to avoid a dreaded X rating, has never been screened publicly. In Interior. Leather Bar., actor/filmmaker James Franco sets out to re-imagine what may have transpired in those missing 40 minutes. With a quickly assembled cast of both gay and straight actors, he and filmmaker Travis Matthews do exactly that. This film-within-a-film charts the reinvention of the censored footage. As the very real sex unfolds before the camera, the equally real reactions of the cast are caught on film. The straight leading actor (doubling for Al Pacino) faces his limits of sexual and artistic freedom, passionately questioning Franco about the validity of the project. The cast believes in Franco’s vision, but some are unsure exactly what that is. Pondering the project even as they film, Franco and his cast discuss the boundaries of art, prejudice, and sexual expression as the orgy in the leather bar happens around them. Explicit, startling and even moving, Interior. Leather Bar. is a sure-fire conversation-starter that will keep you talking long after you leave the theatre. (Dir. by James Franco & Travis Matthews, 2013, USA, 60 mins., Not Rated/Explicit Sexual Situations) Digital


“A masterly work of psychological disorientation… Pacino’s performance is extraordinary, and the film’s frank depiction of the pre-AIDS night world of gay Manhattan remains shocking. No one would get away with it now, or even try.”– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“One of the most original thrillers of the 1980s. It’s a lurid, twisted film that brings you into its world and completely works you over.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“An amazing time capsule … a heady, horny flashback to the last gasp of full-blown sexual abandon.” – Nathan Lee, Village Voice

In this gritty, lurid and shocking thriller from Oscar-winning director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection), Al Pacino hunts a sadistic serial killer through the gay leather bar scene of late ‘70s Manhattan. A vicious murderer is targeting New York City’s gay community. Because of his physical resemblance to the victims, the NYPD sends straight cop Steve Burns (Pacino) undercover as a gay leather-enthusiast into the world of S&M sex clubs in hopes of drawing out the killer. As the cop-in-leather-drag wanders through wild, gyrating bacchanalias straight out of a Tom of Finland painting, the murders escalate and the increasingly disoriented and ambivalent officer finds himself growing attracted to the popper-fueled frenzy of these clubs, forcing him to question – and possibly confront – his own sexual identity. But will he also become the killer’s next victim? Without doubt one of the most controversial movies of the 1980s (drawing fierce criticism and protest from the LGBT community AND the mainstream media) Cruising remains a stylish, troubling and highly entertaining time capsule of a bygone era of sexual abandon. (Dirt. By William Friedkin, 1980, USA, 101 mins., Rated R) Digital