Essential New York
R18+
1980/2015 (106mins/60mins)
Dir: William Friedkin / James Franco & Travis Mathews

Cruising + Interior. Leather Bar

Pacino is excellent in one of William Friedkin’s most unusual films. A young Pacino plays Steve Burns NYPD patrolman on the trail of a serial killer stalking the gay S&M bars and hangouts of the 1970s and 80s New York.

As you’d expect from Friedkin (who also directed The French Connection in this program) the violence is upfront and there’s leather ahoy as Friedkin paints a detailed and tactile backdrop to this crime story - chaps squeaking and fantastic soundtrack throughout! Cruising has a very real sense of authenticity - something Friedkin was famous for - and its storytelling is no holds barred.

Completing this double bill is James Franco and Travis Mathews’ cinematic and performance experiment, Interior. Leather bar. In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980’s film.

Here Franco and Mathews attempt to reconstruct what may have been as well as explore performance itself - and there’s not much held back! As such it’s a film about filmmaking as much as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom.