Sex and Lucia (2002)

“Put lots of sex in it. That’s always good,” says a character in Sex and Lucia, the steamy Spanish import now playing. And Sex and Lucia is true to its very title. There are many scenes with Lucia, our heroine, and there’’s also oodles of sex. This is the type of movie where if people can walk around without a stitch on, they will. This is the type of movie where a babysitter will masturbate to her mother’’s porno. This is the type of movie where shower heads are not used for their intended purpose. No wonder this movie went unrated.

Sex and Lucia is a genuinely erotic movie. And when it comes to eroticism in cinema, the Europeans make us look like sickly amateurs. After exploring whatever late-night stimuli is offered on Showtime or Cinemax you’ll get an idea of how poor American eroticism is. Usually they involve an adventurous couple, or a sex therapist, or a Jacuzzi/swimming pool, or a lonely stewardess/waitress/secretary and usually Shannon Tweed stars. What disarray the state of our erotic union is in. But for all its shocking and stimulating moments, Sex and Lucia is an intriguing tale of loss, love and sexuality, of course, even if it’’s told rather obtusely.

Lucia (Paz Vega) is a waitress in Madrid. She enters into a fiery relationship with a writer named Lorenzo (Tristian Ulloa). Their passion seems to burn as fast as the many cigarettes in the film. Their relationship is full of joyous sex, impromptu strip teases, and blindfolded foreplay. But Lorenzo has a secret he hides from Lucia. Six years ago he fathered a daughter he has never seen when he had a tryst on the beach of a Mediterranean isle. The mother has sent their daughter, Luna (named after the full moon on her conception), into the care of a former porn star and Belen, her randy teenage daughter, in Madrid. It’s here that Lorenzo first meets his daughter and then Belen starts coming onto him.

After learning some disconcerting news about her boyfriend, Lucia leaves to take some refuge on the same sunny Mediterranean island where Luna’’s mother lives. Lucia actually takes refuge with her and looks back upon her stormy relationship with Lorenzo. The island has many deceiving holes that fall into caverns all along its beach, directly echoing the rabbit hole for Alice.

This, believe it or not, is the most easily understandable part of the movie. I’’ve told you what took place but after seeing it even I don’t know what happened. The story has several moments, even entire subplots, that could be the truth, fantasy, sections of Lorenzo’’s story, an exaggerated dream, or maybe all of them combined. Your guess is as good as mine, reader.

Writer/director Julio Medem utilizes about every narrative trick in the book to create an alluring puzzle. He washes out the colors of the film (also seen in Three Kings) and seems to correspond to the surreal quality of many story lines. The cinematography is a gorgeous delight. Vega has a smolder and can act circles around her Spanish competition. She gives a brave performance, partially for being as nude as often as she is, and also for displaying the fragile emotions of Lucia so well.

Sex and Lucia is indeed quite sexy but it’’s more than just art house porn. The film’’s story is an intimate tangle that just might stimulate the largest organ: the brain.

Nate’s Grade: B

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on October 11, 2002, in 2002 Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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