kaos at the 27th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Interior. Leather Bar

"Inspired by the idea of recreating 40 minutes of footage missing from the film Cruising, Franco and Mathews record their preparations with the actors who will play the roles. A professional SM Master is in charge of authentic leather equipment and the cast’s anxieties about how far they are supposed to go are part of this fascinating project. The sex scenes are very real, but rather than mere pornographic intent the film exists as a powerful discussion of the boundaries of sexual and artistic freedom."

nterior. Leather Bar was, ultimately, a frustrating experience. There's too little of the re-created "lost" footage, and way too much of lead Val Lauren's tedious angst. The message is positive and uplifting - Franco's really putting his money where his mouth is - but the emphasis is all wrong. I wanted more of the cute gay couple who perform the unsimulated sex, and of Master Avery, the hot leather daddy who appears in the film, and who made a surprise appearance for the Q&A after the film (to be utterly patronised by programmer Brian Robinson).

Director Travis Mathews was also responsible for I Want Your Love, the beardy weirdy indie flick which also featured unsimulated sex. As was the case with that picture, you're left with the impression the film-makers enjoyed it more than the audience.

Two shorts screened alongside Interior. Leather Bar (which is great - it's a glorified DVD extra, really), including In Search of Avery Willard, a fascinating "investigation into the life of an all-but forgotten pioneering gay filmmaker Avery Willard, whose love of art, drag queens and leather bars found expression in his films." This intriguing short was infinitely more interesting than Hollywood celebrity Franco's "Leather Bar".

Tom's Gift was billed as "a meditation on how the internet has changed cruising habits," but it was so much more than that. Definitely the highlight of the evening, this short, bitter-sweet (and full of protein!) film was a warning about everything technology is taking away from us.

White Night

"Returning to South Korea for the first time since a painful experience drove him away two years previously, enigmatic flight attendant Won-Gyu reunites with his ex-boyfriend one cold winter’s evening. Frustrated by the encounter, Won-Gyu departs into the night, in search of a one-night stand. He meets Tae-Jun, a courier looking for some fun, but instead the two embark on an unexpected journey over the course of a long night, during which Won-Gyu must face the demons of his past and deal with his anger."

hite Night was as frustrating as Interior. Leather Bar. Look, my favourite director is Tsai Ming-Liang, who's famous for long takes and little or no dialogue. But silent, permanently masticating flight attendant Won-Gyu isn't enigmatic, he's just annoying. The film is saved by lively, likeable courier Tae-Jun, whose face I could look at all day.

Beautifully shot by Leesong Hee-il, White Night nearly works, but Won-Gyu's character is just too offputting.

Today I'm seeing R/Evolve.
Check back for my review tomorrow!


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