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Blue is the Warmest Color

A fair number of people will go to see Blue Is the Warmest Color for entirely the wrong reason, the reason that gave rise to the film’s NC-17 rating and which had attracted far more public attention than, say, the fact that it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. For those of you, a helpful suggestion: What you want to see occurs about 70 minutes into the film. Buy your ticket then, stick around for maybe 15 minutes, and then quietly leave, so as not to disturb the rest of the audience, who will be captivated by one of the most emotionally immersive films in recent memory.

Interior. Leather Bar.

You may not remember Cruising, the 1980 film directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), and you’re not likely to see it on TCM: In its day it was quite notorious. A murder mystery starring Al Pacino as a cop who goes undercover into Manhattan’s S&M scene to find a serial killer targeting gay men, it was criticized for (in the words of its detractors, not all of whom actually saw the film) seeming to characterize gay lifestyles in terms of the worst possible excesses. Obsessed with authenticity, Friedkin filmed scenes in actual clubs, documenting otherwise unseen parts of New York in the pre-AIDS era.

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