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Faustian Franco?

OUT NOW! A joint effort from Travis Mathews and James Franco, INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR. didn't impress one of our writers.

A joint effort from Travis Mathews and James Franco, “Interior. Leather Bar.” didn’t impress one of our writers.

Actor-director-scriptwriter-producer-author-poet-painter-musician-academic-model James Franco is the most frustrating person to hate. At the time of writing, his third directorial effort of the year is screening in the main competition at Venice while the other two competed in sidebars at Cannes and Berlin. If one takes the first of these, Interior. Leather Bar., as a benchmark, nothing short of a Faustian contract can explain this insane hat trick.

At the film’s beginning, after a quick reference to his PhD at Yale, Franco humbly explains that he’ll finally explode the taboo of sex in cinema by re-creating some 40 minutes of never-seen explicit footage cut from William Friedkin’s gay leather scene thriller Cruising, released in 1980. As no mention is made of the intervening 33 years, it’s safe to assume sexual politics have been at a standstill since.

Fret not, here’s a 60-minute, largely scripted ‘making of’ documentary in which Franco and his co-director stage a gay orgy in a garage while their (straight) lead actor – and the whole hetero-fascist world – squirms at the sight of men blowing one another.

In between takes, every cast member takes their turn at fellating Franco in front of the camera – to much disappointment, only verbally.

Interior. Leather Bar. | Directed by James Franco, Travis Mathews (USA 2013) with James Franco, Val Lauren. Starts October 17

Originally published in issue #120, October 2013.