Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wow! I didn't expect to see that at the library.

Actor Christian Patrick
The Salt Lake City library is the most recent venue for Sundance movies in Salt Lake City.  This year it was host to Interior. Leather Bar. from filmmakers Travis Mathews and James Franco.  If you're uncomfortable with the idea of gay sex, this might not be a movie you want to see, particularly at your local library.  Because there are plenty of erect penises in this film.

Here's the concept. In 1980 Al Pacino starred in a movie called Cruising about murder in the New York gay leather bar scene. The movie was highly controversial and ultimately the director had to cut 40 minutes from the movie in order to avoid an X rating.

Interior. Leather Bar. attempts to re-imagine what those 40 minutes (which have never been shown publicly) might have looked like. As the movie begins, we are led to believe that this is documentary about the recreation of those 40 minutes.  But not long into the film, you realize that the filmmakers are messing with the audience and that the entire movie is a fabrication.  That only makes this film more interesting.

James Franco may not really be an actor or filmmaker any more.  I think he's officially made the move to "Artist."  The Art world is enamored with him. He's had numerous gallery shows recently.  And his performance art is getting quite a bit of attention.  This movie adds to the perception that he wants his work to live in a fine-Art setting. Franco and other actors in the movie raise interesting issues about how we express ourselves creatively and how sex factors into that expression.

Only one person was there for the Q and A after the screening.  Christian Patrick, who happily admitted that he's involved in the gay leather scene in his personal life and that he works as a porn star seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the questioning Sundance crowd.  But in the end he offered some interesting musings on the power of creative and sexual freedom.  He also admitted that he enjoyed the attention from the Art crowd who praised him for doing what he pretty much does for the porn crowd; turn people on.  And it's exactly that conundrum that makes Interior. Leather Bar. an interesting Sundance movie.

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