Xperimental Eros

San Francisco curator and filmmaker Noel Lawrence curated the compilation Xperimental Eros for release on DVD through Other Cinema Digital. Together with UC Berkeley Film Studies Professor Linda Williams and other experts in the field, he will discuss the genre boundaries between pornography and experimental film in a panel following the program.

Experimental films can show some of the same things that pornographic films show-soft- or hardcore sex, sometimes laced with violence. But they show it differently. This is the lesson of the works inspired by pornography in this program. Experimental cinema seems the opposite of the rigid genre restrictions of pornography: where pornography is formulaic and repetitious, repressing the imagination of its creators, experimental film surprises and innovates. Where pornography is the most crassly commercial of genres, experimental works are exempt from commercial exploitation. Where pornography wants to see clearly, experimental films often obscure and complicate. Finally, where porn has to deliver the goods of arousal, experimental films have no such obligation. Yet what draws me to the experimental is very often the same thing that draws me to pornography: the chance to see the human body-and not just the face!-in all its beauty and/or grotesqueness, caught up in either the most boring or the most ecstatic of states.

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