James Franco’s documentary “Interior: Leather Bar,” is screened Friday in Hallwalls.
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Have American attitudes toward sex become more or less conservative over the past 30 years? It’s a question with some disconcerting answers, some of which James Franco and Travis Mathews mull over in their 60-minute experimental documentary “Interior: Leather Bar.” The film, which has been making the rounds of international film festivals since its debut earlier this year, has its first local screenings at 8 p.m. and midnight Friday in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.).

The documentary uses William Friedkin’s 1980 film “Cruising” – specifically, 40 minutes of explicit footage that was edited out of the movie to avoid an “X” rating and was later lost – as a jumping off point. It features Franco and Mathews as themselves and follows their fictional attempt to re-create the footage. Rather than a straightforward duplication of the lost footage, the movie is a more layered and complicated exploration of censorship and the way Americans view sexuality.

In a recent interview with Filmmaker magazine, Mathews said the movie “resists categorization.”

“It’s a movie about movie making. It’s a movie about celebrity and what people do to be part of a celebrity project. It’s definitely about boundaries around sex and sexuality,” he said.

Tickets are $5 to $8. Call 854-1694 or visit www.hallwalls.org.

– Colin Dabkowski

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