In the 1960s, "experimental film" was often a code word for boobies. Artistic innovation is all well and good, but nothing draws an audience like censorship. While cineastes created underground movies, the raincoat brigade made them a phenomenon.

By the 1970s, ideology was sexier than skin, at least in theory. Avant-garde cinema developed a puritan streak, and audiences dwindled. Films of empty rooms often played to equally empty rooms. But underground film never entirely lost its louche. And in the 1990s, the boobies came back. Xperimental Eros, a DVD compiled by Noel Lawrence and released by Other Cinema, chronicles the resurgence of raunch in avant-garde cinema.

The most successful filter the sex through an aesthetic screen. For example, Peggy Ahwesh's The Color of Love consists of a severely corroded peep-show film, slowed to a stuttering shuffle. The film itself is quite peculiar, depicting two girls as they caress each other and what appears to be a man's bloody corpse. The rainbow wash of corrosion obscuring the image is sublime.

By contrast, Naomi Uman's Removed erases only the honeys. Uman coated several snippets of European '70s softcore porn with nail polish, leaving only the naked women uncovered, then used bleach to remove the bodies. The result is a writhing, pulsating hole in the movie where a woman once was. It's not only smart and funny, but also condenses years of feminist theory into one three-minute metaphor.

A touch of cynicism is common. Mark Street's Blue Movie consists of rephotographed bits of porn films, often framed to exclude the dirty bits. Anaïs Nin declares on the soundtrack, "While I'm doing this I feel I'm not living." Likewise, in The Influence of Ocular Light Perception on Metabolism in Man and Animal, Thomas Draschan and Stella Friedrichs rhyme images from advertisement and porn films and sync them to the soundtrack from a '60s Italian porn film.

The oddest and most perverse film in the collection is Lewis Klahr's Downs Are Feminine. A stop-motion animation synced to a Mercury Rev track, it makes the sexual symbolism of Harry Smith's Heaven and Earth Magic explicit, shuffling contorted images from straight and gay porn magazines to show the fluidity of gender and desire. recommended

Also out this week: Transformers (DreamWorks, $36.99), The Jazz Singer (Warner three-disc deluxe edition with Vitaphone shorts, $39.92), The Trials of Darryl Hunt (THINKFilm, $27.98).