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  •  REVIEW: SEX AND LUCIA

      Sex and Lucia
    "Sex" marks the spot

    "Sex and Lucia" is an unashamedly erotic tour of Spain, and if the plot is a little dysfunctional, well . . . did we mention the erotic part?

    By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
    Offoffoff.com


    Spanish writer/director Julio Medem summarizes the plot of his latest film, "Sex and Lucía" (Lucía Y El Sexo), fairly straightforwardly:

    "Lucía is a young waitress in a restaurant in the centre of Madrid. After the loss of her longtime boyfriend, a writer, she seeks refuge on a quiet, secluded Mediterranean island. There, bathed in an atmosphere of fresh air and dazzling sun, Lucía begins to discover the dark corners of her past relationship, as if they were forbidden passages of a novel which the author now, from afar, allows her to read."

    SEX AND LUCIA
    Original title: Lucia y el Sexo.
    Written and directed by: Julio Medem.
    Cast: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri, Daniel Freire, Elena Anaya, Javier Cámara, Silvia Llanos, Diana Suárez..
    In Spanish with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
      
    In terms of its narrative, however, "Sex and Lucía" is far from straightforward. It starts at the end, almost, and tells the bulk of its story through flashbacks coming back upwards through the middle and then dropping, like a stone, into a hole at the end (to start all over again?). Its characters come together and intertwine, as you would expect, and the associations are sometimes intriguing, sometimes obvious, and Medem shoots most of the Mediterranean island scenes (most likely the tiny isle of Formentera off the Spanish coast, where the director found his inspiration for the piece) in this white-hot bleached-out digital style that makes you want to reach for the bottled water constantly — boy is it HOT out there!

    Unlike Steven Soderbergh's latest, there's also an abundance of full frontal nudity (of both genders) in the film and then some, and even though "Sex and Lucía" was released unrated, there's enough graphic sex to warrant an NC-17 had the MPAA gotten their hands on it, so keep the kiddies well at home.

      
      If "Sex and Lucía" arouses anything (don't get me wrong; it is erotic) then it's the energy and the imagination to make your own sense of it. And even if, in the end, you can't, I daresay you'll have a lot of fun trying.
      
    All this sort of adds up. In some ways it sort of adds up to another "Y Tu Mamá También," that sexually-oriented road movie from earlier this year directed by the Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The films are quite similar as it happens, with Cuarón's film slightly edging out Medem's in terms of its complexity and narrative strength. "Sex and Lucía" seems a little less focused, which probably makes sense when you realize the director was initially working on two separate scripts that, at one point, he decided to conjoin (detractors would add not very well).

    "Y Tu Mamá También" benefited from a strong central female character and the same is true here. Paz Vega turns in a brave, controlled performance as the eponymous Lucía, seeking out meaning after her boyfriend appears to have been killed in an accident, a writer named Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa), to whom she walked right up and proposed on the strength of his first novel. There follows a lot of copulating and uninhibited nudity and frank, unembarrassed use of closeups the likes of which you don't ordinarily see in your standard Mel Gibson flick.

    It's often hard to tell, however, whether the characters in the film are real, or the product of Lorenzo's fruitful imagination, freed from his writer's block by the lusty Lucía. To some it probably doesn't much matter. If "Sex and Lucía" arouses anything (don't get me wrong; it is erotic) then it's the energy and the imagination to make your own sense of it. And even if, in the end (or at the beginning), you can't, I daresay you'll have a lot of fun trying.

    SEPTEMBER 11, 2002
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Sex and Lucia:

  • Bueno   from reb, Oct 31, 2002
  • different from y tu mama tambien   from Tamara, May 5, 2003
  • Re: different from y tu mama tambien   from Rafael, May 24, 2003
  • I loved it!   from Ray Rassi, May 23, 2003
  • sex   from thanh, Nov 29, 2003
  • sex and lucia   from jordan eveland, Nov 25, 2004
  • HI   from seemond, Nov 25, 2004
  • Sex and Lucia   from Freek, Oct 7, 2008

  • Post a comment on "Sex and Lucia"