Interior. Leather Bar.

Interior. Leather Bar. ★★★★

I think the key to this, like everything Franco-related, is to just not take it too seriously? I mean, this film is actually a behind the scenes of this recreation, but the behind the scenes is also scripted. We even see the script at one point, seconds before the line of dialogue the page is open to is said in conversation!

This is an interesting way to explore sexuality, screen sexuality, performance and sexuality, etc. I read an interesting defence of Cruising, I can't remember where, but it basically said that the film captures a gay scene that changed drastically if not vanished post-AIDS. With this recreation, as Franco himself explains, the association of murder with that scene is removed, and instead it's about what it was really about all along: a straight guy uncomfortable with what's going on around him, most of all how enticing it is (Franco calls it "beautiful") and that his sexuality might not be as rigidly defined as he'd like to believe.

Except this time it's got a meta presentation, and I think the "Val Lauren" character is pretty much an analogue/surrogate for Franco himself, who through making this film is confronting this discomfort in himself (in one of their conversations Franco tells Val how everyone's been brought up with a world view that's twisted about sexuality, and that the film is an attempt to combat that).

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