Dir. William Friedkin, 1980.
United States, 102 minutes.
Reviled upon its release, Friedkin's film is still often regarded with extreme disdain. Set in New York's Meatpacking District in the early 70's, before the AIDS crisis, and decades before S&M would reach mainstream acceptability through popular fiction like 50 Shades of Grey. Cruising was made in a time when leather was not only far from acceptable, but depictions of queerness where exclusively homophobic. Friedkin's film bears the weight of being one of the first mainstream features to be almost universally reviled by the queer community, with protests staged and filming disrupted. Counter to today's comparatively frequent depiction of queers in a more positive light, Cruising best serves as a timecapsule to another era of mainstream media depiction to learn from and beyond.