Sex and Lucia (2002)
“Put lots of sex in it. Thats 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 theres 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 mothers porno — the ones where mom stars. 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 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 youll 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, a Spanish version of Juliet Lewis with a cleft chin) 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. Its 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 Lunas 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 dont 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 is a shining star that deserves all the attention that Penelope Cruz is garnering. 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. And if that doesn’t work out, there’s always the sex.
Nate’s Grade: B