James Franco makes S&M boring.
DIRECTED BY TRAVIS MATHEWS AND JAMES FRANCO (USA, Nightvision)
Friday, April 26 11:59 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)
Sunday, April 28 1:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
James Franco has done it again. After slipping Francophrenia (Or, Don’t Shoot Me, I Know Where the Baby Is) into Hot Docs last year under documentary guise, he’s repeated the offense with Interior. Leather Bar. Much like the previous film, Franco’s pet project purports to be a “making of” movie, but rapidly reveals itself to be a contrived and plotted foray into some pseudo-intellectual nonsense. While Francophrenia “explored” the actor’s final days on the set of General Hospital, (de)evolving into a portrait of the artist as a pretentious man, here Yale’s most notorious grad student takes on William Friedkin and homo-sociality. Or something.
Franco and co-director Travis Mathews set out to recreate the lost footage from Friedkin’s Cruising, in which Al Pacino plays a detective who goes undercover in the gay S&M scene to find a serial killer. (In order to avoid an X-rating, Friedkin was forced to cut 40-odd minutes of the film.) Early on, however, it becomes evident Interior is no behind-the-scenes look, as Franco’s forced conversations belabour his real intent: pushing the limits of what constitutes acceptable sex. (Adding insult to boredom, the sex that is shown is hardly racy: blowjobs, masturbation, and some light spanking.) Overall the film is as basic as a first-year gender-studies paper—or worse, an excuse for Franco to name-drop his Yale professors and say “heteronormativity.”