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Indie Sex

Two discs; IFC; $29.95

Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg, of the documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, created this seemingly sure-fire three-part history of sex in the cinema for the IFC channel. Maybe the main problem is apparent right in the title: indie movies are often frank, but they're not as often deliberately erotic. Indie Sex turns out to be fairly extraneous, despite its salacious packaging and extras: particularly a slightly longer sequence of 1920s stag films than was aired. (A quick web search will find some more extensive collections—try As in any cinema-history class, viewers listen to the lectures politely, but they are most grateful for the clips: Emmanuelle (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) Seigner causing some trouble in the underrated Roman Polanski comedy Bitter Moon; the side-of-the-highway sex scene from Cronenberg's Crash (the only Crash that matters), and Kyle MacLachlan getting caught looking in Blue Velvet. Something a little more systematic and less glancing and chatty might have helped. Highlights include the always-genial John Waters discussing his earlier work ("What did voyeurs do before there was film?"). Of the other interviewed indie all-stars (among them Allison Anders, Miranda July and Atom Egoyan), maybe John Cameron Mitchell has the most street cred, since he set out to make a deliberately hard-core movie, Shortbus. (Richard von Busack)

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