It’s not the banned film I Want Your Love but Melbourne Queer Film Festival organisers are ecstatic to now show a different film about sex and censorship by the same director.
Interior. Leather Bar, directed by Travis Mathews and James Franco, was approved by the Australian Classification Board yesterday.
Last month it emerged the Australian Classification Board banned Mathews’ film I Want Your Love which was due to screen at the Mardi Gras Film Festival and MQFF.
The decision attracted the ire from more than 2,000 (now over 2,500) people who joined an online petition on Change.org, opposing the ACB decision to ban I Want Your Love from Australian screens.
Interior. Leather Bar is about the 1980 film Cruising, which starred Al Pacino as an undercover cop investigating a murder in the New York gay leather bar scene. Its directors were forced to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material for the American censors which were never screened publicly. So Franco and Mathews set out to reimagine what would have happened in those scenes in a film about making a film.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic because it will bring in some much needed ticket sales in because we had to cancel the two screenings of I Want Your Love,” MQFF festival director Lisa Daniel told the Star Observer.
“It’s an incredibly topical film in relation to what we actually had cancelled it’s really about censorship and it’s about how people feel about using sex as a narrative for life itself.
“It’s incredibly ironic because it still has explicit, actual sex in it – it just doesn’t have as much as the other.”
According to Daniel, the banned film had six minutes of explicit sex scenes in a 70-minute film compared to four minutes of explicit sex in the new 60-minute film.
Mathews, a friend of Daniel’s, offered her the new film if they could get it past the ACB. MQFF added Interior to their classification exemption application with the ACB last Thursday.
Daniel said was “pleasantly surprised” that it passed considering its explicit content.
Mathews has had two films banned in Australia. In Their Room Berlin was meant to screen at the Mardi Gras Film Festival last year but was not granted an exemption.
Interior. Leather Bar will makes its Australian premiere on Monday, March 25 at ACMI Cinema 2. 6pm.
Check out the trailer below (NSFW):