Interior. Leather Bar. to replace banned film I Want Your Love at MQFF
The controversial banning of film I Want Your Love from the 23rd Melbourne Queer Film Festival has prompted Academy Award nominee James Franco and director Travis Mathews to donate their latest project in its place.
I Want Your Love was banned from screening at the festival by the Australian Classification Board on the grounds that explicit sex scenes in the film are not supported by narrative context.
An application for an exemption was denied.
Franco, who co-directed replacement film Interior. Leather Bar. with Mathews, has taken to YouTube to express his disappointment that the film was refused entry.
“This just is such a disappointment to me and seems really silly. The reason I approached Travis to make a film (Interior. Leather Bar.) was because of his work in I Want Your Love,” he said in his video, which was directed to the Australian Classification Board.
“It’s very short-sighted and very hypocritical… Frankly, adults should be able to choose. They’re not going in blind. I don’t know why in this day and age a film that is using sex – not for titillation but to talk about being human – is being banned. It’s just embarrassing. I hope you’ll re-consider”.
I Want Your Love follows Jesse, a young gay man who, after years of going nowhere-in-particular in San Francisco, is forced to move back to his mid-west roots because he can no longer afford the city lifestyle. On his last night in town, friends and ex-lovers throw him a farewell party that enhances his bittersweet feelings toward leaving.
It has been described by the New York Times as “a conscious effort to take back gay sex on film” and by the London Guardian as "a welcome shift in queer cinema."
However, in Australia, even if I Want Your Love was paid to be classified, the Melbourne Queer Festival has been informed the film would rate as X18+ and thus would not be able to be shown.
The film is a collaboration between Mathews and gay porn studio Naked Sword.
Interior. Leather Bar, which will now replace the film at the festival, takes a look at the infamous 1980 film Cruising. It is rumored that in order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was cut and destroyed from the film. Interior. Leather Bar imagines what those 40 minutes could have contained.
View James Franco’s video to the Australian Classification Board here:
And below, the trailers for I Want Your Love and Interior. Leather Bar.