Directors: James Franco and Travis Mathews
Starring: Val Lauren, Christian Patrick, James Franco, Travis Mathews
Written by: Travis Mathews
James Franco, the world famous actor, has been making headlines recently with some bizarre and incriminating behavior. From taking promiscuous selfies, to trying to court a 17 year-old European girl on Instagram, the actor appears to be going through some mid-life crisis or maybe just seeking some overdue publicity. Regardless, Mr. Franco is a talent that should be studied and appreciated. He has provided us with unforgettable characters and story lines in the many films in his career. Known mostly as an actor, many like me did not realize that he was also an established film director.
The film is a documentary style movie following the project of the vision of James Franco’s and Travis Mathew’s idea of cut footage from the 1980 Al Pacino film, “Cruising”. “Cruising” was a story about an undercover cop searching for a serial killer in gay cultured club in the heart of New York City. For those who do not know, cruising, is a term known in the gay community for picking up other men in public places and performing sexual acts. There was supposedly an hour of cut footage from this film that Franco and Mathews felt needed to be seen or explored and released into today’s society. “Interior. Leather Bar.,” is footage showing the casting, the filming, and the final product of a sexually charged cut vision. More importantly it is also the social experiment of sexual boundaries and its impact on those of all orientations and lifestyles, like the main actor, Val Lauren and the opinions of those involved in the project.
I have no idea what this film was shot in, but it was definitely approached as a documentary style. The camera angles and the content captured were disturbing and fascinating at the same time. There was no rating on this film due to its nudity and mature subject matter. I mean from shots of men making sexual facial expressions, to actually showing men nude, spanking each other, and orally pleasuring one another; I was left with my eyes glued to the screen and mouth dropped to the floor. Surprisingly as a gay man I was not aroused, but more mind f*cked than anything.
The audio was clear and intentional. From every moan, smack, laugh, sigh, etc. it was sensorial, impactful and added to the overall story of the film. The visual was mind blowing enough, but the sound added a quality that just made me feel uneasy. For the actual cut footage interpretation there was no dialogue, which made the set up and preparation aspect very impactful. Once I saw the product of the cut footage it was like my mind spoke the dialogue of the characters. You know, kind of like when you speak to yourself without actually saying anything.
THE PACKAGING AND EXTRA FEATURES
When I received this film, it came in a sleeve and the image on the cover of the disc made it appear like it was some fun club movie. I honestly thought it was going to be a campy and Logo television-esc, but boy was I wrong. This was a social experiment wrapped all cute and pretty and alluring, like a creeper with a puppy or with some candy trying to get you in the big white van. Yep, I went in. As far as extra features, there are some short films made by Franco and Mathews. These stories are just as impactful and disturbing as the main project exploring sex through different facets of life. These made me think; damn these boys are creative freaks and geniuses with definite sexually charged brains.
This was the hardest film I have ever had to review. I have literally spent the last three weeks trying to wrap my head around the thought process of this project, as well as the creative ambitions sought by James Franco and Travis Mathews. I must say I commend the actors of this project both straight and gay for their work and the openness to do a project like this. Especially, for Val Lauren who visibly went through some torment from his personal connections about working on this project. Being a gay man I have experienced and witnessed the actions that are showcased in this project, and while part of me is very saddened at the portrayal of the gay community in this, it must also be understood that this aspect is just a subculture of the gay community. I feel that it is this subculture that is the most thought about in the argument of homosexuality, but I must also say that there should not be a fear of sex, but a better understanding and openness about it; which I think was the goal of Franco and Mathews. In closing… James Franco is a bad ass, genius, and should be someone to watch in all aspects of entertainment, even with his recent antics. Call me James!!!!!! 😉